Dementia and Oral Health: Is There A Connection?

Suellan Go Yao and James Burke Fine*

Dementia and Oral Health: Is There A Connection?.

As the population ages, they will be at risk for more health problems. Two of those health issues
are Alzheimer’s disease and periodontal disease. Both diseases do not have a cure
and can affect the quality of life.

It is speculated that 1 in 85 people will be living with AD by 2050 and that approximately 5-20% of
adults aged 65 years or older suffer from severe forms of PD.

Often, dementia and AD are referred to interchangeably. Dementia is an umbrella terms
for symptoms that affect the cognitive functions of the patient. These symptoms can include
impaired memory, changes in thinking skills, decrease in focus and attention and poor judgement
and reasoning skills.

while late/sporadic onset is due to the interaction between genetics and environmental factors.
It displays the formation of extracellular amyloid β-peptide plaques and intraneuronal neurofibrillary
tangles  of hyper phosphorylated tau protein.

This leads to the gradual loss of neuronal synapses and neuronal degeneration with loss of essential neurotransmitters. However, doctors will look at medical history and do a physical,
neurological and mental status exam.

There are several reviews that look into the possible link between dementia and periodontal
disease and tooth loss. One by Tonsekar et al, reviewed the literature on chronic periodontitis
and tooth loss as risk factors for dementia or cognitive impairment.

Aguayo et al,11 conducted a review focusing on the bacterial infection and AD.
They explore the relationship between brain bacterial infection and AD and on the existence of anti-microbial
peptides having pore-forming properties that function similar to the pores formed by amyloid – β in a variety of cell membranes.
They believe that the control of biofilm mediated disease may be a potential preventive mechanism for AD.
Dent Open J. 2018; 6(1): 1-7. doi: 10.17140/DOJ-6-140