Brushing your teeth to slow down Alzheimer’s disease

A link between oral hygiene and the development of Alzheimer’s disease has been established by Norwegian researchers. A study carried out by the Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen (UiB), Norway, published in the journal Science Advances reveals that good oral hygiene could slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

From gingivitis to the brain

Gum disease, especially gingivitis, plays a decisive role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Piotr Mydel, a researcher at Broegelmanns Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen (UiB), claims to have found evidence based on DNA analysis that the pathogenic bacteria responsible for gingivitis are able to move and reach the brain. As they spread, the bacteria produce toxic proteins that attack nerve cells in the brain, causing memory loss, which is the cause of Alzheimer’s.

Brush your teeth to preserve your memory

According to Piotr Mydel, this pathological bacterium considerably increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, because it is involved in the rapid progression of the disease. Despite this particularly high risk, this study shows that the adoption of good habits such as regular brushing of the teeth or the use of dental floss could slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. He also points out that people with gingivitis who have a family member who already has Alzheimer’s should practice good oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly.

The same bacteria found in the mouths of Alzheimer’s patients

According to this research, the bacteria responsible for gingivitis can affect the brain and release harmful enzymes that can destroy nerve cells. This study collected DNA evidence of this process in the human brain. To obtain this result, Mydel and his team examined 53 people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and discovered the presence of this harmful enzyme in 96% of these patients. Such a discovery makes it possible, according to the researcher, to implement a new approach to better tackle Alzheimer’s disease.

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In this sense, Mydel and his collaborators have succeeded in developing a drug capable of stopping the bacteria’s harmful enzymes, thus delaying the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Piotr Mydel suggests that this drug will be tested by the end of this year at the latest.

Stephen S. Dominy: Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors. Journal of Science Advances


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