Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dental health may be a critical indicator of seniors' memory health

AARP is reporting that dental care may be an important strategy in preserving memory health for seniors, in this piece by Joene Hendry, link here.

Peridontal disease and gingivitis are sometimes associated with a gum infection by the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis. Studies have shown that the presence of by levels of antigen for this bacterium are associated with poorer performance on short-term memory loss, and this may be one reason why dentists recommend root planning treatments, to reduce pockets. The bacterium is associated with chronic destructive gum diseases, or deep bone infections that can explode with sudden swelling. It might lead to systemic inflammation that gradually increases the likelihood of stroke or coronary artery disease, or it might even lead to the greater likelihood of brain plaque formation through mechanism not yet understood. Some people may develop immunity to it with time, however. Here is a “citizen’s compendium encyclopedia” reference on the bacterium, with is anaerobic gram-negative and may tend to be resistant to antibiotics (link).

Picture (unrelated): from Baltimore National Aquarium

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