Dementia and Gum Disease – A Connection?

What you will find on this page:

photo concept showing connection between oral health and the brain

Did You Know

Did you know there is a link between Alzheimer’s or dementia and oral health? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) | Institute on Aging says that a large study conducted in 2020 suggests that gum disease and infections with oral bacteria may be linked to dementia.

According to University of Buffalo oral biology professor Dr. Frank Scannapieco, in an April New York Times article titled Why Oral Hygiene is Crucial to Your Overall Health, “bacteria that are found in the mouth actually have been identified in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s,” suggesting a possible connection.

Further, those with dementia are more likely unable to brush and floss regularly or effectively which increases the likelihood of infections and gum disease.

June is National Oral Health Month and National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. So, now is a great time to practice good dental hygiene and exercise your brain. You can do that by brushing and flossing regularly, going to the dentist at least once annually, exercising daily, eating a balanced diet and avoiding tobacco products and alcohol.

42% of Adults Over 30 Have Gum Disease

Over 42% of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease.2 And since there are many connections between gum disease and chronic diseases like dementia, such as diabetes and heart disease, be sure you are doing the best you can to keep your mouth healthy and stay healthy overall.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

The New York Times article above also mentions specific connections of gum disease with heart disease, pregnancy complications, pneumonia, and diabetes. With diabetes having the strongest connection to gum disease. The research says: Gum disease can lead to diabetes and diabetes can lead to gum disease.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health, American Dental Association and American Diabetes Association all have resources that provide information on this connection. They offer ideas on what you can do if you are impacted by either diabetes, gum disease or both. We offer some key links on this page.

Key Links

Be sure to visit the key links on this page for more detailed information.