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Your Dental Health & Alzheimer’s

Aug 05, 2013

Dental Insurance Store tweeted several articles last week about how poor oral health can cause people to be at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.  We wanted to recap this important information and give you a few hints on keeping your oral health in tip top shape.

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What is Alzheimer’s disease?

  • A progressive neurological disease of the brain which leads to the loss of intellectual abilities, including memory and reasoning.
  • There are estimated to be between 2.4 and 4.5 million Americans who suffer from this disease.
  • The disease causes a change in the structure of the brain causing cells to die off.
  • Azheimer’s is a terminal disease; however, lifestyle and dietary changes can help slow the effects.  The continued donation of brain tissue will also help the medical community research this disease.

The Study & its Findings

  • Brain tissue samples from patients with dementia were tested alongside non-dementia patients after their passing.
  • Examination of the samples from the dementia patients showed the presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis.  Found in oral cavities, the gingivalis bacterium enters the blood stream, thus flowing to the brain. 
  • Neurons are destroyed by the release of excess chemicals in the brain triggered by the immune system in order to fight off the bacteria.
  • This recent information also supports related studies about Alzheimer’s and gum inflammation.  In 2010, researched revealed gum disease could increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction.

Prevention of Oral Decay

  • The largest amounts of Porphyromonas gingivalis was found in patients who had invasive dental procedures stemming from basic cavities.
  • Many dental procedures and oral diseases can be prevented by visiting your dental professional at least twice a year.  Brushing and flossing on a regular basis are also a necessity.
  • When seeking dental insurance plans, look for those that cover preventive maintenance.  If you have progressive dental issues, seek plans with basic and major coverage.  The longer you wait to help your oral health, the worse off you will be.  

There are many factors that can cause dementia – your oral health being only one of them.  However, since oral issues are preventable, this is a factor you can help control. Oral health care decisions may become more difficult beginning October 1 with the formalization of state insurance exchanges, especially the children’s benefits.  The Affordable Care Act says pediatric dental benefits are one of the “10 essential health benefits,” but many medical plans offered in the state exchanges will not offer dental benefits. 

Purchasing a standalone dental plan may be the only way for parents to comply with the new laws.  Why wait for October when Dental Insurance Store can help you find the right plan for the right price right now?  Please don't let your oral health prevent you from happy, healthy long life for you and your children!  For more information on the Alzheimer’s study, please check out our twitter feed for several full length stories. 

Sources: Medical News Today, Boston University Alzheimer’s Research Center, WebMD

Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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