Good Dental Hygiene Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s​

When you go to the dentist, does the hygienist tell you to floss more often? Now there is more reason to listen, as a recent British study suggests that the bacteria from gum disease contributes to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, took brain samples from people who died of Alzheimer’s, compared with samples from people who died from other causes that were not dementia-related. They found the gum disease bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in 40% of the Alzheimer’s samples, and none in the non-dementia samples.

The theory is that “bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream through chewing or tooth removal and end up in other parts of the body, including the brain,” lead researcher St.John Crean, dean of the School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education at the University of Central Lancashire, told Bloomberg News. “Chemicals produced by the bacteria then could build up, causing inflammation and contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s,” he explained.

Crean called the results of the study “very encouraging,” but acknowledged that although there is reason to believe that these bacteria do get to the brain, there are no findings on whether they were what caused the dementia. The study also doesn’t address the question of whether people with advanced Alzheimer’s simply have worse oral hygiene due to their cognitive state.

In another 2010 study involving 152 people, NYU dental researchers linked inflamed gums to greatly increased risk for cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s.  The study compared mental function at ages 50 and 70 and found that people with gum inflammation were nine times more likely to score in the lowest category of mental function than those with little or no inflammation.

For good dental hygiene, and now for Alzheimer’s prevention, it’s a good idea to floss to keep teeth and gums healthy. Read more and get tips from a dental expert in the Yahoo! article “The Two-Minute Habit That May Prevent Alzheimer’s.”

At the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. (, we are always intrigued by new and helpful research, and hope it will encourage you to take good care of yourself and protect yourself, as best as you can, from Alzheimer’s. Our firm is dedicated to helping protect seniors and individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. If you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, call us at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to make an appointment for a consultation.


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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.