Periodontal (gum) disease may increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease in healthy individuals as well as in those who already are cognitively impaired.
Researchers examined 20 years of data and found fresh evidence that links gum disease to brain inflammation, neurodegeneration, and Alzheimer’s disease.
“The research suggests that cognitively normal subjects with periodontal inflammation are at an increased risk of lower cognitive function compared to cognitively normal subjects with little or no periodontal inflammation,” says Angela. Kamer, assistant professor of periodontology and implant dentistry at New York University.
The study builds on earlier research that found that subjects with Alzheimer’s disease had a significantly higher level of antibodies and inflammatory molecules associated with periodontal disease in their plasma compared to healthy people.
The latest findings are based on an analysis of data on periodontal inflammation and cognitive function in 152 subjects in the Glostrop Aging Study, which has been gathering medical, psychological, oral health, and social data on Danish men and women.