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What Is the Connection Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s?

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One of the most common oral illnesses for seniors is gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, which is an inflammation and infection in the gums that can result in tooth loss and other severe issues. Gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease might not seem like they would be related, but the two health conditions influence each other. Here’s what you need to know about Alzheimer’s and periodontal disease.

Gum Disease Can Worsen Alzheimer’s Symptoms

Irritability and personality changes are two of the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and they can be made even worse when a senior is living with chronic pain. Check your loved one’s gums to see if they look red, shiny, or swollen, and check if any teeth are loose. These are all painful aspects of gum disease that can make a senior with Alzheimer’s disease misbehave, lash out, or act in other negative ways.

Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who do not have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. For trusted Scottsdale Alzheimer’s care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. 

Alzheimer’s Progression Can Be Hastened by Gum Disease

A 2016 study from the University of Southampton recently found that seniors with Alzheimer’s who have gum disease had a six-fold increase in cognitive decline rate. The research implies that people who have gum disease seem to progress more rapidly from mild Alzheimer’s disease to severe memory loss and cognitive decline. This situation seems to occur because gum disease causes a generalized inflammatory response throughout the body. Higher inflammation levels cause more stress and high blood pressure, which can further harm the brain.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in home care. Scottsdale seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Gum Disease Raises Fatality Risks

One of the most concerning links between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease is the fact that gum disease has the potential to be deadly. The second most frequent cause of death in seniors with Alzheimer’s is infection because the body has difficulty fighting off invading bacteria. Gum disease is particularly likely to spread to the rest of the body. When bacteria flourish along the gums, it can easily enter the bloodstream and go to other areas in the body.

Alzheimer’s Disease May Increase the Likelihood of Gum Disease

Gum disease is an entirely preventable health condition. However, the rigorous oral hygiene needed for preventing gum disease can be challenging for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. To make sure Alzheimer’s disease is not hastened by gum disease, help your loved one remember to brush his or her teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day. Make sure your loved one brushes for at least two minutes and thoroughly cleans the gum line. It is also helpful to get regular dental checkups for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, an in-home care provider Scottsdale, Arizona, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To learn about our high-quality in-home care plans, give us a call at 480.448.6215 today.