San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA
Cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease have become a significant concern for aging adults around the world. Alzheimer’s disease is noted as the sixth leading cause of death among the elderly in the U.S. and costs our country a combined amount of $230 billion in care just in 2016. Up until recently, scientists focused on finding a single pathogen that is responsible for this disease. But, research efforts are changing. Find out how a two-minute daily routine could help lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disease that leads to memory loss and cognitive decline. Symptoms may first appear around the mid-’60s, although it can strike even younger than that. The severity of Alzheimer’s can range from memory loss to complete inability to carry out daily tasks, and eventually, death.
A recent study conducted by Dr. Dale E. Bredesen at the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, along with Buck Institute for Research on Aging, discovered that using a 36 point therapeutic program that focuses on comprehensive diet changes, exercise, healthy sleep patterns, vitamins, brain stimulation, and taking steps affecting brain chemistry showed a significant improvement in cognitive function.
For this study, 10 subjects were reviewed that had Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, or subjective cognitive impairment. One test subject had a severe case of Alzheimer’s disease. Initially, there were six out of the 10 that had to quit their jobs or were struggling to work due to their declining cognitive ability. However, after utilizing a specific therapeutic program as outlined below, the subjects showed cognitive improvement and were able to return to work.
What does all of this have to do with dentistry you ask? Inflammation, a central mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease. The study mentioned above uses a specific therapeutic program that aims to reduce inflammation throughout the body. If you eat an unhealthy diet, aren’t getting enough sleep, lacking vital nutrients, and aren’t stimulating your brain daily, your body could be battling inflammation, although you may not actually feel it. Another culprit to chronic inflammation is gum disease, which affects more than half of adults in America.
Gum disease begins as gingivitis, which is commonly related to pink in the sink, which means your gums bleed easily, especially when you brush and floss. If gum disease isn’t treated, it gets worse. Your gums will shrink away, creating a direct path for harmful oral bacteria to travel into your bloodstream and throughout your entire body. Gum disease in and of itself is chronic inflammation, but there is a way to prevent it, in most cases.
Prevent your risk of gum disease by brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing daily. You also should see your dentist twice a year for dental checkups and cleanings. Everyone gets plaque and tartar buildup, which if not removed, can inflame the gums, causing gum disease.
One of the key factors in lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is to minimize inflammation throughout your body, which also includes your mouth! To learn more about ways to protect your oral health, contact Glen Park Dental by calling (415) 585-1500. We provide complete oral care to patients in Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco.