Periodontal disease, a common but preventable gum infection, may be an initiator of Alzheimer’s. The findings come from researchers in the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Plenty of studies were conducted on the association of periodontitis and cognitive impairment, this latest study has showed that exposure to the periodontal bacteria results in the formation of senile plaques that accelerate the development of neuropathology found in Alzheimer’s patients.
Researchers found the mice chronically exposed to the bacteria had significantly higher amounts of accumulated amyloid beta—a senile plaque found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients. The mice also had more brain inflammation and fewer intact neurons due to degeneration. Further, researchers found DNA from the periodontal bacteria was also found in the brain tissue of mice, and a bacterial protein was observed inside their neurons.
Interestingly, periodontitis has demonstrated the association with heart diseases and atherosclerosis in previous studies.
Although the study was on mice rather than human being, we may all learn a lesson. Oral hygiene is an important predictor of disease, including diseases that happen outside the mouth. We can all take oral health seriously to avoid some severe diseases.