A new study has found a significant link between dental health and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers involved in the study, which was published in the journal Science Advances, examined the bodies of deceased people with Alzheimer’s and found that the bacteria that causes gum disease was also present in their brains.
University of Louisville researchers found the bacteria ‘P. gingivalis’ in the brains of people who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Fifty control subjects, who did not have Alzheimer’s, had far lower levels of the bacteria in their brains. This finding is significant because while earlier studies had linked P. gingivalis with Alzheimer’s, it wasn’t clear whether the bacteria caused the disease or whether poor dental care was a side effect experienced by people with dementia.
The new study indicates that the bacteria might contribute to developing Alzheimer’s, although researchers are quick to add that further studies are needed. A co-author of the study, Jan Potempa, said, “We now have strong evidence connecting P. gingivalis and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis, but more research needs to be done before P. gingivalis is explicitly implicated in the causation or morbidity of Alzheimer’s disease.”
It’s long been theorized that brain-stimulating activities like reading, puzzles, and exercise, can help to stave off Alzheimer’s and other dementia-causing diseases. This finding could give people yet another way to help keep their brains healthy and memory intact.
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