Brushing your teeth could stave off dementia, scientists claim.
People with poor oral hygiene are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, a study suggests.
Brain samples from patients with the illness were infected with bugs that cause gum disease.
The researchers believe that when the bacteria reach the brain they trigger an immune response that destroys neurons.
The scientists from the University of Central Lancashire studied 20 people.
Half had dementia where the products of bacteria P. gingivalis, associated with chronic gum disease, were present.
This bacteria is commonly associated with chronic gum disease and enters the bloodstream through daily activities such as eating and chewing — but especially after invasive dental treatment.
From there it potentially gets into the brain on a regular basis and causes already primed cells to release more chemicals that kill neurons.
Recent studies on animals by the same researchers confirmed P. gingivalis in diseased mouths finds its way to the brain.
Dr Sim Singhrao said: “Continued visits to dental hygiene professionals may be more important than currently thought.”
The university’s dean of dentistry, Prof St John Crean, said: “The bacteria could be a trigger that sets off a chain reaction in people pre-disposed to dementia.”
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