Can brushing one’s teeth properly help to ward off the threat of dementia? Many theories are now put forward by both scientists and medical researchers in their quest to fight this deadly disease that’s more rampant and highlighted today than ever before. As the brain declines, it takes its toll on possibly every vital part of the human body thus retendering it intolerably malfunctioning and robbing it from its natural dignity. Scientists are now claiming that remembering to brush your teeth properly everyday into old age could help fight dementia. This is based on mounting evidence that Alzheimer’s can be fuelled by the bacteria that causes gum disease.
The bugs are thought to affect brain functions such as memory – so good oral hygiene could lower the risk of developing dementia, say experts. In the latest research, British boffins found that Alzheimer’s patients declined six times faster if they had bad gums. Conversely, they say, improving oral hygiene in dementia patients could even slow their decline. It could prove a crucial breakthrough because there are few pills for the disease, despite hundreds of drug trails.
The researchers, from King’s College, London and the University of Southampton, tracked the health of 59 men and women with Alzheimer’s for 6 months. The memory of 20 who had gum disease declined more rapidly than the others, the journal PLOS ONE reports. Tests reveal that their blood had a higher level of chemicals that cause an inflammatory response that can damage the brain.
Gum disease affects 80% of Britain’s aged 85 and over. Around half of those aged 65+ have also lost more than 10 teeth – a sign of severe gum disease. Mark Ide, of Kings College, London said: ‘treating gum disease in those who already have Alzheimer’s might slow their decline and regular tooth brushing may help prevent the disease in healthy adults.’ But he said, ‘most people are rubbish’ at cleaning their teeth. ‘We think it is better to do it really thoroughly once a day having been instructed how by your dentist, than do it badly once a day.’ Previous research found that those who brush their teeth once a day are 65% more likely to develop dementia than those who brush 3 times a day.
Dr Doug Brown, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘this study adds evidence to the idea that gum disease could potentially be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s but we would need to see clinical trials to provide more solid evidence.’
There you have it. Be prudent and brush your teeth regularly and avoid the possibility of developing brain decline in old age. However, if that doesn’t work than at least you will have shining white teeth for people to remember you by when you kick the bucket.