Study Finds Association Between Gum Disease, Cognitive Decline In People With Alzheimer’s.

BBC News (UK) (3/10, Howell) reported that early stage research suggests a link between gum disease and “a greater rate of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease.” The University of Southampton and King’s College London led the small study, published in PLOS ONE, which involved “59 people who were all deemed to have mild to moderate dementia.” After tracking the participants for six months, the study found “the presence of gum disease – or periodontitis as it is known – was associated with a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline.” Dentist Dr. Mark Ide from King’s College London said, “In just six months you could see the patients going downhill – it’s really quite scary.”

The Independent (UK) (3/11, Gander) reported that the research “builds on previous evidence which has linked periodontitis with higher levels of inflammatory molecules associated with deteriorated mental health,” adding that the study suggested that “the body’s inflammatory response to gum disease could explain the link between gum disease and cognitive deterioration.”

The Daily Mail (3/10, Macrae) also covered the story.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on gum disease.