The Link Between Oral Hygiene and Alzheimer’s Disease

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Oral disease can affect people of all ages – it universally transcends many aspects, but it can significantly impact patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition that affects memory, cognitive ability, and behavior, is the sixth cause of death in the United States, often due to its traumatic, gradual decline in health. With the memory decline, basic oral habits such as brushing and flossing are often neglected, resulting in worse health problems than before, often creating harmful cycles of poor physical and mental health. Why do researchers believe there’s a link between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease? Each one can inadvertently affect the other, and only preventative measures by both the patient and dentist can help.

How Alzheimer’s Disease Harms Good Oral Health

Good oral health doesn’t require constant, yearly visits to the dentist but rather requires consistency in good habits. Brushing, flossing, and even mouthwash are some of the only ways to prevent oral diseases such as gum disease, tooth decay, and TMJ disorder. Alzheimer’s disease can greatly impact how we remember certain events and people, often resulting in a lack of physical care. Meaning as forgetfulness increases, these essential oral habits are often neglected. According to a study conducted from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the link between Alzheimer’s disease and oral health is pretty evident.

Researchers looked into how this neurodegenerative disease impacts the body’s ability to protect itself from various diseases throughout the study. As a result of this disease, poor memory and cognitive function ultimately create a debilitating system for the patient to remember even basic tasks. Poor memory comes with a higher risk of vulnerability to various diseases, and with oral diseases, it becomes even more prominent as the effects of aging take hold. Gum disease can be challenging to tackle due to its progressive nature in how the bacteria attack the gums. With a decreased immune system, patients with Alzheimer’s often experience a cycle of poor physical health that aggravates their symptoms even further.

How Dentists Help Patient’s With Alzheimer’s Disease

The best dentists provide their services with deep compassion for the patient, and through this understanding, better dental health can be delivered to patients needing healthcare. Some of the preparations they can include a range from:

  • Dentists can offer affordable services for seniors that include fluoride treatments and dental sealants as a long term solution for their oral health
  • Good dentists will also provide custom treatment plants for severe oral health problems such as tooth decay.
  • Lastly, dentists can also work with the patient’s insurance company to provide more affordable solutions through customized pre-treatment plans.

It’s essential and vital for these patients that they receive dental services both at their appointment and outside it. Dentists who work with these patients often have to pay attention to the welfare of their overall health when providing their services. Because of this neurodegenerative disease’s gradual nature, dentists often have preparations at hand to provide their patients with better, more affordable solutions.

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Dr. Brian Black

Dr. Brian P. Black was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD) in May 2000 and then completed advanced training in the U.S. Air Force. He has had a broad experience within the dental industry. Dr. Brian is proudly serving his patients in Rancho Mirage, CA area.

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