Brushing your teeth— we all know it’s important to keep those pearly whites shining, but does it have other benefits? Can bacteria in your gums and teeth turn around and affect your neurological health? In other words- is there a connection between dental health and Alzheimer’s?
As studies are revealing, certain bacteria that cause infections in the teeth and gums can actually contribute to your risk of Alzheimer’s. To be sure, lots of your Alzheimer’s risk will be coming from your genes. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce your overall vulnerability. So, let’s investigate this strange connection.
Gingivitis Is the Main Culprit
Recent studies have taught us a lot about the brain. Small things can contribute a lot to someone’s risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia- things like exercise, diet, and, of course, dental health.
So, in a way, we might say your dental and mental health go hand in hand.
But, what is the exact link between dental health and Alzheimer’s? What’s the culprit when it comes to this horrible disease?
As it turns out, something as commonplace as gingivitis– an infection that many Americans live with every day and don’t give a second thought- maybe the main culprit contributing to this dental-mental link.
While gingivitis starts in the mouth, it can find ways to make its way into other parts of your body- notably your brain. Once it makes its way into the brain, a dangerous process starts to occur.
Inside your brain, gingivitis bacteria will release little enzymes called gingipains. These compounds go to work destroying nerve cells and decreasing your brain’s overall functionality. It happens gradually, but the little damages can over time cause things like Alzheimer’s and memory loss.
According to the study which confirmed this, people who died of Alzheimer’s have elevated levels of gingipain in their brains. And thus, the case was cracked. Your dental health can affect your brain health in ways no one knew before.
So, how can you keep an eye out for gingivitis? How does it start? How long does it take to start affecting your brain, and how can you fix it?
If you’re concerned about how your dental health may be affecting your brain, you might start by checking yourself for gingivitis. In the end, a dentist will be the most accurate judge of whether or not you have the infection, but you can look for a few signs on your own.
Many people look at their gums and think they’re normal and healthy. But what many people don’t know is that a huge number of Americans secretly suffer from gingivitis. A few innocuous signs can tip you off.
When you brush, you might notice some streaks of red in your toothpaste. Many people think this is normal, but it’s actually a bad sign. If you experience gum bleeding when you brush your teeth, odds are you may have a case of gingivitis.
In addition, bacteria smell bad. Really bad. If you regularly experience bad breath, you’ve probably got some harmful bacteria hanging around in your gums. If you have to go around chewing gum all day, make sure you don’t have a case of gingivitis. Over a long time, if left unchecked, it can make its way into the brain.
You may also look for receding gums, or gums that look to be giving up their hold on your teeth. Doing this is simple, just pull down a lip or two, and look at how far down or up your teeth your gums have receded. If you see a lot of recession, you might go to a dentist or try a few home remedies.
Remedies for Gingivitis
If you think you have gingivitis, we recommend you see a dentist. But, there are a few effective ways to start treating gingivitis at home.
For one, you might try just staving off gingivitis in the first place. Brushing your teeth twice a day is all you need to chase away most bacterial infections and cavities, and it only takes a few minutes, so why not?
If this fails, or if you already have gingivitis, you might try treatment as old as time- swishing salt water. It sounds like an old wives’ tale, but using saltwater to sanitize your mouth is a real, working solution to gingivitis. Just mix salt with water, and swish for 30 seconds.
Lemongrass mouthwash is yet another easy way to chase your gingivitis away. Lemongrass essential oils can be found at many home stores, and mixing two to three drops in a cup of water creates a potent mouthwash. Simply swish for thirty seconds, spit, and repeat two to three times a day.