Periodontitis can increase the risk of developing dementia

Gum disease (gingivitis) that is not treated can become periodontitis. When this happens, the infection that has affected the gums causes the loss of the bone that supports the teeth. Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Interestingly, periodontitis is also a risk factor for the development of dementia, a major cause of disability in the elderly. A United Nations forecast estimates that 1 in 85 individuals will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia, by 2050. The reduction in risk factors leading to dementia and Alzheimer's disease could potentially reduce the likelihood of developing those conditions.

Recently, South Korean researchers have studied the connection between chronic periodontitis and dementia. They published their results in Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

The research team examined the information from the National Health Insurance Service-Health Screening Cohort (NHIS-HEALS). In South Korea, the NHIS provides a mandatory health insurance covering almost all forms of health care for all Korean citizens. The agency also provides health screening exams twice a year for all members aged 40 and over and keeps detailed health records for all members.

The researchers examined health information from 262,349 people aged 50 or more. All participants were grouped as healthy (ie without chronic periodontitis) or with chronic periodontitis. The researchers followed the participants from January 1, 2005 until they had been diagnosed with dementia, dead, or until the end of December 2015, depending on what happened before.

The researchers learned that people with chronic periodontitis had a 6 percent greater risk for dementia than people without periodontitis. This connection was true despite behaviors like smoking, consuming alcohol and staying physically active. The researchers said that to their knowledge, this is the first study to show that chronic periodontitis could be linked to a higher risk of dementia even after taking lifestyle behaviors into consideration.

Researchers have suggested conducting future studies to see if the prevention and treatment of chronic periodontitis can lead to a reduced risk of dementia.

This summary is taken from "Association of chronic periodontitis on Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia". It appears online before the press in the February 2019 issue of Journal of American Geriatrics Society.


The study reveals a new connection between periodontal and cerebrovascular diseases


More information:
Seulggie Choi et al, Association of chronic periodontitis on Alzheimer's disease or vascular dementia, Journal of American Geriatrics Society (2019). DOI: 10.1111 / jgs.15828

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American Geriatrics Society

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Periodontitis may increase the risk of developing dementia (2019, March 15)
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