GUM DISEASE (PERIODONTITIS) MAY be more common in Alzheimer’s patients, and it is associated with an increase in the severity of dementia in patients with the condition, according to new British research.
For the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, medical investigators assessed the cognitive ability and dental health of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, and measured inflammatory markers in their blood.
Six months later, they repeated the tests and found the rate of mental decline in patients with gum disease was six times as rapid as those without the disease, and there was also an increase in markers for inflammation. The scientists concluded that gum disease is associated with a more rapid decline in thinking in Alzheimer’s patients, probably due to mechanisms related to the body’s inflammatory response.
GUM DISEASE LINKED TO ESOPHAGEAL CANCER
A type of bacteria responsible for gum disease may be a cause of esophageal cancer. Researchers at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry found the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis in 61 percent of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. The bacteria wasn’t detectable in healthy esophageal tissue. The discovery provides evidence that gum disease is a risk factor for esophageal cancer and may be reduced by improving oral hygiene.