The bacteria caused by poor oral hygiene can kill off nerve cells once they reach the brain. Picture:Boxer Ngwenya

London - Bad teeth and gum disease could be linked to Alzheimer’s, say scientists.

The bacteria caused by poor oral hygiene can kill off nerve cells once they reach the brain, causing the confusion and memory loss associated with dementia.

Researchers who examined the brains of ten dead Alzheimer’s patients found signs of the bug P gingivalis.

Scientists at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) suspect that the microbe leads to the death of brain cells by triggering a chemical immune response.

Despite the findings, reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, it “remains to be proven” whether poor dental hygiene can lead to dementia in healthy people.

“It is also likely that these bacteria could make the existing disease condition worse,” said Professor StJohn Crean, of the university’s School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Dr Simon Ridley of the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK said oral bacterial infection could be a consequence of later stage Alzheimer’s, rather than a cause.

Gum disease has already been linked to health problems such as heart disease and early cancer deaths. - Daily Mail

 

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