Trouble Thinking? Maybe it's Your Teeth

Nov 16th, 2021
Easton Dentists Jan 2nd, 2022

Though it may seem odd, good oral care such as regular brushing, flossing and trips to the dentist, may help aging adults keep their thinking skills intact, according to a U.S. study. Research has already established an association between poor oral health and heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York found that gum disease could also influence brain function through several mechanisms, such as causing inflammation throughout the body, which is a risk factor for loss of mental function. The study also found that adults with the highest levels of this pathogen were two times more likely to fail three-digit reverse subtraction tests.

The study, reported in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, was based on more than 2,350 men and women who were tested for periodontitis and completed numerous thinking skills tests as part of a national survey.

Overall 5.7 percent of the adults had trouble completing certain memory tasks, 6.5 percent had impaired delayed recall, and 22.1 percent had trouble with serial subtractions.

But those with the levels of the pathogen were nearly three times more likely to struggle with the verbal memory tests, and twice as likely to fail on both delayed verbal recall and subtraction tests.

“Although the results are preliminary, they suggest that further exploration of relationships between oral health and cognition is warranted,” they concluded, “Although results presented here are preliminary and inconclusive, a growing body of evidence supports exploration of a possible association between poor oral health and incident dementia.”

Preventing Gingivitis

May 18th, 2010
Easton Dentists Mar 1st, 2017

The most common form of dental disease we see in our New Albany Ohio dentist office is gingivitis.  Gingivitis is a Periodontal (gum) disease that results in inflammation or infection of the gums.  If left untreated, gingivitis can begin to destroy the tissue that supports the teeth, the periodontal ligaments and even the tooth sockets.

Most gingivitis is caused by plaque deposits on the teeth.  Plaque is materials such as bacteria, mucus and food debris which collects together to form a sticky coating on the exposed portions of the teeth.  If it is not removed, it can mineralize and harden into tartar that becomes tightly adhered to the tooth.  The bacteria and other substances then begin to irritate the surrounding gums.

The symptoms of gingivitis are somewhat non-specific.  The gums may become swollen, or bright red, or sometimes even purplish. If the gums are tender or painful to the touch, it may be a sign that gingivitis is present.  One of the most common telltale signs is bleeding gums when brushing or especially when flossing.

If you already have gingivitis, the good news is that there are many treatments available.  The first goal has to be to reduce any inflammation and prevent infection. The teeth must be cleaned thoroughly by the dentist or dental hygienist. This may involve the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. A dental hygienist or dentist will also look for signs of periodontitis using X-rays or periodontal probing instruments, as well as other methods.

If the gingivitis is not responsive to treatment, referral to a periodontist (a specialist in diseases of the gingiva and bone around teeth and dental implants) for further treatment may be necessary.

Good consistent oral hygiene is the best prevention against gingivitis.  Brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing regularly will go a long way toward prevention.  For people who are prone to gingivitis, brushing and flossing may be recommended after every meal and at bedtime.  Plus, there are many antiseptic mouthwashes available that help to kill the germs and bacteria that form the plaque.  Special toothpastes or even prescription medications can be used if an individual is particularly prone to infections. Consult your New Albany Ohio dentist or  dental hygienist for specific instructions on proper brushing and flossing techniques to prevent or alleviate gingivitis.

Increasing your intake of calcium has also been shown to reduce the occurrence of gingivitis and other periodontal diseases.  The recommended daily dietary allowance is 1,000 milligrams, and most adults have less than half of that each day. 

Professional teeth cleaning in addition to brushing and flossing may be recommended twice per year or more frequently for severe cases. Antibacterial mouth rinses or other aids may be recommended in addition to frequent brushing and flossing.

Periodontal Disease is a dental disorder that results from progression of gingivitis, involving inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth. This gradually causes the destruction of tooth support and if left untreated will lead to tooth loss.  Studies have also shown that poor dental health can lead to infections in the bloodstream, which can lead to heart issues and even cardiac events.

If your gums are bleeding, call and make an appointment with our New Albany Ohio dental office.  Your health is too important to ignore.