Extended exposure to periodontal diseases does affect the brain neurons in mice, and causes inflammation in their brain tissue as well. Such effects are similar to what happens with humans who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. According to studies, there is evidence that shows periodontal disease may encourage patients to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Though Alzheimer’s disease has no effective treatment or cure, periodontal disease is both preventable, and treatable by your local Toronto dentists here at Fort York Dentist. It is vital to come in for check-ups to ensure you are properly taking care of your oral hygiene.
Studies on Periodontal Disease
There have been additional studies completed that show a link between cognitive impairment and periodontal disease. Of all results, this is the initial study that shows how senile plaque is formed due to exposure to periodontal bacteria. This bacteria has been proven to increase the speed of development of harmful neuropathology that is most often seen in patients that have Alzheimer’s. Researchers were surprised that the pathogen had such an intense effect on the brain tissue, and was further surprised that the results resembled Alzheimer’s disease so closely.
The doctors and authors of the research paper discovered and proved via testing in mice, that chronic periodontitis, which results in oral bone loss and oral soft tissue damage, has a negative effect on the tissue of the brain. Mice that were exposed to the bacteria repeatedly accumulated larger amounts of the senile plaque amyloid beta. This specific plaque is also found in the brain tissue of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. These mice were also found to have a less number of intact neurons as a result of tissue degeneration and were found to have an increased amount of inflammation of the brain tissue.
After analyzing the amyloid beta proteins and the RNA, the findings were confirmed to have shown that the genes that are associated with degeneration and inflammation are expressed in greater quantities. In addition, there was periodontal bacteria DNA found in the mice’s brain tissue along with the bacteria’s protein being found inside the neurons of the mice. This shows that the bacteria does, in fact, travel from the oral cavity to the brain tissue, but it also shows that chronic infections can lead to symptoms that resemble Alzheimer’s.
What makes these results so powerful is that that the study was performed on wild mice, which means their systems were not modified, where in most cases mice used for research are bred to express the specific genes of the study in which they will be used. Using non-modified mice further supports the research that shows periodontal bacteria the potential to encourage the onset of Alzheimer’s.
What the Research Means
Being able to understand the various causes and risk factors involved with developing Alzheimer’s will allow better treatment to be developed. This is even truer in cases where it has a late onset. For the science community, this research offers a window into managing and preventing the disease, for everyone else, it shows that every part of your body is important and that your oral health should be taken seriously. For more information on this study, or to find out how we can help, contact Fort York Dentist at (647) 346-8888 for more information.