Research has found that following good oral hygiene practices, like brushing and flossing, could help protect you from Alzheimer’s disease…

Researchers at the University of Bergen have discovered a connection between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

“We discovered DNA-based proof that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain,” says researcher Piotr Mydel at Broegelmanns Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen (UiB).

The bacteria produce a protein that destroys nerve cells in the brain, which in turn leads to loss of memory and ultimately, Alzheimer’s.

Destroying nerve cells in the brain

Researchers have previously discovered that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain where the harmful enzymes they excrete can destroy the nerve cells in the brain.

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Mydel and his colleagues examined 53 persons with Alzheimer’s and discovered the enzyme in 96 per cent of the cases.

Mydel points out that the bacteria is not causing Alzheimer’s alone, but the presence of these bacteria raise the risk for developing the disease substantially and are also implicated in a more rapid progression of the disease.

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New medicine being developed

According to Mydel, this knowledge gives researchers a possible new approach for attacking Alzheimer’s disease.

“We have managed to develop a drug that blocks the harmful enzymes from the bacteria, postponing the development of Alzheimer’s. We are planning to test this drug later this year, says Mydel.

Remember to brush and floss

The good news is that this study shows that looking after your teeth can slow down Alzheimer’s.

“Brush your teeth and use floss,” advises Mydel, adding that it is important if you have gingivitis and have Alzheimer’s in your family, to go to your dentist regularly and clean your teeth properly.

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Source: The University of Bergen www.sciencedaily.com

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.