Alzheimer’s and Gum Disease linked

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humanbrainGum disease, or gingivitis, is present in 97% of our population and is one of the most common diseases in humans. An estimated 64% of seniors 65 years and older have some sort of periodontal disease. Another common disease, Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

Researchers from the University of Florida have found an association between gum disease and Alzheimer’s. The study examined brain samples from patients with and without dementia. They found lipopolysaccharide, which is a component of oral bacteria, in 4 of 10 Alzheimer’s patient samples, while there was no trace of lipopolysaccharide in healthy brain samples.

Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream while chewing, brushing, flossing, or in dental procedures. Once in the brain, the bacteria can potentially lead to the degeneration of brain tissues like that seen in Alzheimer’s disease. Now the group would like to examine a causal association between the bacteria and Alzheimer’s.

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