If you bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you may have gum disease. Porphyromonas gingivalis, the key bacteria in chronic gum disease has now been linked to the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly half of adults over 30 in the U.S. have chronic periodontitis, according to the ADA. Think about that for a moment: Alzheimer’s is not just something that can happen to you when you’re in your golden years. Your oral health habits matter now.
Gingivitis is the precursor to periodontitis, and the condition comes with warning signs that you can readily spot. Early signs include gums that are red, swollen, and bleed when you brush; at this point, you can still turn things around with proper oral hygiene and a trip to the dentist, which is why it’s so important to keep that regular appointment, according to the ADA. But once it advances, things can get so bad that you lose teeth. Want dentures as you’re older? We didn’t think so.
Brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. Why? Certainly to save yourself from painful cavities and keep your smile looking bright—but also to stay cognitively sharp.
More than 6 million people in the United States suffer from various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and those numbers are growing at an alarming rate. Based on current projections, by 2050 that number will exceed 16 million, or about 1 in 5 Americans by the age 65 and older.