Study finds potential gum disease link to Alzheimer’s
Gum disease has been linked to Alzheimer’s in new research findings published in the journal Science Advances*.
The publication highlights a study which suggests that P. gingivalis, one of the main pathogens involved in tooth loss, may also play a role in developing Alzheimer’s.
The study was sponsored by the biotech start-up Cortexyme Inc. of South San Francisco, California. Co-founder Stephen Dominy is a psychiatrist who in the 1990s became intrigued by the idea that Alzheimer’s could have an infectious cause.
There is as yet no agreement that P. gingivalis is behind the disorder, though its important role has been acknowledged. Neurobiologist Robert Moir of Massachusetts General Hospital told the journal Science: “I’m fully on board with the idea that this microbe could be a contributing factor. I’m much less convinced that [it] causes Alzheimer’s disease.”
The last comprehensive dental survey of adults found that gum disease affects 45 per cent of the population. The condition varies from mild inflammation to reddened, swollen or bleeding gums and, at the advanced stage, loose teeth.
Other studies have found links between poor oral health and conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
BDA scientific adviser Professor Damien Walmsley said: “This study offers a welcome reminder that oral health can’t remain an optional extra in our health service. Everyone’s life can be improved by regular appointments and good oral hygiene, reducing the bacterial load that’s ever present in our mouths to a level that’s unlikely to cause tooth decay, gum disease or tooth loss.”
Help the ageing – page 20