Oral and dental health and Alzheimer's disease


Although most people don't associate oral disease with serious health problems, increasing evidence shows that oral bacteria play a significant role in systemic diseases like colon cancer and heart disease.

Now, new research from the Forsyth Institute shows a link between periodontal (gum) disease and the formation of amyloid plaque, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

In their paper, "Microglial cell response to experimental periodontal disease," published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation, Forsyth scientists and their collaborators at Boston University demonstrate that gum disease can lead to changes in brain cells called microglial cells, which are responsible for defending the brain from amyloid plaque. This plaque is a type of protein that is associated with cell death, and cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer's. The study provides important insight into how oral bacteria makes its way to the brain, and the role of neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease.