Neurodegenerative Diseases and Gum Disease

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning (also known as neurodegeneration). It can affect memory, thinking skills and other mental abilities. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

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The exact cause of Alzheimer's disease is not yet fully understood, although a number of things are thought to increase the risk of developing the condition such as age and family history.

Inflammation within the brain is one of the features of this disease. Research suggests the inflammation from conditions such as untreated gum disease can add to the burden of the circulating inflammation.

Parkinson’s disease is a condition where the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years. This damage is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain which results in difficulty of movement, for example. Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear although circulating inflammation is probably involved.

Most experts think that a combination of family history and environmental poisons such as pesticides and other pollutants could be involved.

Current research into the possible links between neurodegenerative disease and gum disease are not well understood. For both conditions, some experts suggest that the circulating inflammation from untreated gum disease could be a link.

Professional treatment of gum disease and good oral hygiene will result in a healthier mouth with less inflammation, which is a benefit to everyone.