Chronic gum inflammation, (known as periodontitis), is the leading cause of tooth loss and has been associated with increases in inflammation throughout the body. However, a recent Taiwanese report shows that chronic periodontitis may also be associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Data was collected from patients age 50 and over with chronic periodontitis. While there was no overall direct link between periodontitis and Alzheimer’s, researchers from Chung Shan Medical University in Taichung City saw that people who had chronic gum inflammation for 10 or more years were 70 percent more likely than people without periodontitis to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, other recent studies done by Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy suggest that chronic periodontitis might contribute to a decline in thinking ability.
While researchers continue to look for more direct links between periodontitis and Alzheimer’s, the study provides incentive for people to adopt a better dental care routine especially because periodontitis is a preventable and treatable disease.