Elderly people with periodontal disease are more likely to have amyloid beta accumulation in the brain, according to a study published in Neurobiology of Aging.
This study is one of the first to associate clinical parameters of periodontal disease with amyloid beta in humans.
There are several ways by which oral infection have been shown to influence the development and/or progression of Alzheimer’s disease, but most of them involve either direct infection by pathogens or the inflammatory cascade brought about by oral infection.
“We show for the first time in humans an association between periodontal disease and brain Aβ load. These data are consistent with prior animal studies showing that peripheral inflammation/infections are sufficient to produce brain Aβ accumulations.”
The presence of amyloid proteins in Alzheimer’s diseased brains has long been studied as a cause of the degeneration of brain tissue, but it’s beginning to appear that oral health may also play a role – periodontal disease is now being considered a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Minimizing the inflammatory burden and other effects of periodontal disease, may, therefore, help reduce risk for this devastating disease.