Adopting healthy habits becomes increasingly important as we age to maintain an active and independent lifestyle. But eating right and exercising to maintain our physical fitness aren't the only ways to stay healthy. We must also focus on our brain health to reduce the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease.
What Is Alzheimer's Disease?
Alzheimer's Disease is a neurological condition that causes memory loss and a gradual decline in thinking skills. It is irreversible, typically occurs later in life, and has no known cure. While scientists do not fully understand the causes of Alzheimer's Disease, it is associated with a number of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. As such, it is important to understand the risk factors and make the necessary adjustments to reduce your chances of developing the disease.
The Mouth-Body Connection to Alzheimer's
While most people do not think of oral health as a part of brain health, the link between the two is stronger than you might realize. Research that includes a 2019 study by Dr. Stephen Dominy has shown that several periodontal pathogens are risk factors for the development of Alzheimer's, including the P.g., C.r., and C.s. pathogens.
Patients over the age of 60 who have lost more than half their teeth are more than twice the standard risk of developing dementia. A 2007 study found that patients with few or no teeth saw their risk of developing dementia increase by more than four times. The most common cause of tooth loss was periodontal disease occurring 20 to 30 years before the onset of dementia.
Patients with Alzheimer's Disease gradually lose their ability to maintain their oral hygiene, which can lead to a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. The onset of periodontitis can, in turn, intensify the effects of Alzheimer's Disease, creating a feedback loop of ever-worsening oral and brain health.
At Durango Health Group, we partner with the oral health professionals at Durango Dental Group to provide a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses your mouth, body, and brain. With services such as periodontal treatment, salivary diagnostic testing, and blood pressure monitoring, we take a preventative approach to combat Alzheimer's Disease and give you the best chance at long-term brain health.