-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Here's another reason to
take good care of your teeth: Gum disease may be linked to
Alzheimer's disease, a small new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed brain samples from 10 people with
Alzheimer's and 10 people without the brain disease and found gum
disease-related bacteria in the brain samples from four of the 10
Alzheimer's patients. No such bacteria was found in the brain
samples from people without Alzheimer's.
"This clearly shows that there is an association between oral bacteria and Alzheimer's disease, but not causal association," study author Lakshmyya Kesavalu, an associate professor in the College of Dentistry at the University of Florida, said in a university news release.
The study is the first to show such a link, the researchers
Bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream during chewing,
brushing, flossing and dental procedures. The bacteria can travel
in the blood to the brain and can potentially lead to brain tissue
degeneration that appears similar to Alzheimer's, the researchers
The study was published recently in the
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Previous University of Florida research on mice found that gum
disease-related bacteria was able to move from the mouth to the
About 64 percent of Americans aged 65 and older have moderate or
severe gum (periodontal) disease, according to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. Alzheimer's disease, the leading
cause of dementia, affects more than 5 million Americans and is the
sixth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the
The U.S. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
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