According to a recent study, there may be a connection between chronic gum inflammation (peridontitis) and increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. The research was undertaken by teams from Denmark and the United States. It has been presumed that peridontitis could provoke brain inflammation and eventually worsen dementia. The researchers involved in this study hypothesized that patients with periodontal disease (peridontitis) might therefore be at greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
This study is among the first to discuss the link between peridontitis and Alzheimer's disease. The study took place at New York University and was led by Dr. Angela Kamer, assistant professor of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry, along with Dr. Douglas E. Morse, associate professor at NYU College of Dentistry and a team of researchers in Denmark. In a previous study in 2008, Dr. Kamer reviewed the conditions of 18 Alzheimer patients with chronic peridontitis. She found that these patients had high levels of antibodies when compared to the other 16 control participants. This study indicated that twice as many subjects with Alzheimer's disease showed positive results for the respective periodontal antibodies.
The most recent study, on the other hand, reviewed data on inflammation and cognitive function in 125 participants from Denmark. They were between 50 and 70 and their condition in regards to periodontal inflammation and cognitive function were recorded. The Digit Symbol Test was later applied to evaluate the cognitive conditions of the participants. Dr. Kamer noted that peridontitis at the age of 70 was significantly connected to a lower score on the Digit Symbol Test. Participants with peridontitis had lower scores than those who did not have the inflammation.
Based on these results, the research team suggested a connection between peridontitis and lower cognitive function in older people. These results can be indicative of a presymptomatic early onset of Alzheimer's disease.