Gum disease is an infection that can cause damage to your gums, supportive tissue, and even tooth loss. However, studies have now linked it with much more serious overall health issues. Of these recent findings, one of the more concerning is that poor gum health can increase your chance of Alzheimer’s. Keep reading to learn about this relationship between gum disease and your brain as well as how to help your gums stay as healthy as possible.
The Link Between Your Gums and Your Brain
Studies conducted by the NYU College of Dentistry found that gum inflammation may actually contribute to brain inflammation, which leads to neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s. Brain inflammation causes the breakdown of the health of your brain cells and neurons, much like gum disease causes the break down of your gums and supportive tissue. In the same study, people with Alzheimer’s had a much higher number of antibodies and inflammatory molecules in their blood if they had gum disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you can catch gum disease early on, its effects are reversible. That’s why it’s important to be able to recognize these common signs and symptoms:
- Swollen or tender gums
- Red or puffy gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Discolored gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums pulling away from teeth
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist as soon as possible for treatment. The sooner that you can improve your oral healthcare and receive professional help, the better off your gums and brain will be.
How to Prevent Oral and Overall Health Issues
Thankfully, these problems and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s can be completely prevented through positive oral health habits. Brushing your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each session as well as flossing daily will prevent gum disease-causing plaque and bacteria from building up in your smile. You should also visit your dentist for biannual checkups and cleanings because they can reach areas in your mouth that you simply can’t at home.
Lastly, it’s important to make positive health changes in your life. Tobacco use and heavy consumption of alcohol increase your risk of gum disease, so if you needed another reason to make a change, this is it.
Who knew that the health of your gums could affect the function of your brain and even increase your risk of Alzheimer’s? Now that you know more about this relationship, use these prevention tips and know the warning signs to keep your mouth and brain as healthy as possible.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Dina H. Cocco is an experienced dentist who understands the link between your gums and your overall health. She believes in patient education, which is why she wants you to know more about gum disease and its risks. For any questions, she can be contacted through her website or by phone at (734) 668-8636.