Can Poor Oral Hygiene Lead to Dementia?

For most people, brushing their teeth and flossing seem like a normal part of each day. Proper oral hygiene not only helps prevent cavities, it also helps to avoid gingivitis and plaque buildup. Research suggests that it may also provide protection from developing dementia.

The Connection Between Gingivitis and Cognitive Decline

Researchers may have stumbled upon a connection between dementia and gum disease. Poor oral hygiene habits can lead to an increase in gum bacteria and a toxic enzyme known as gingipains. Studies have found that patients with dementia had higher concentrations of gingipains in brain tissue than the norm.

What You Can Do to Help Prevent Dementia With Good Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene should be taken seriously by everyone. Not only will it keep your teeth clean and intact, but it can help prevent bad breath. And now that there’s a possible connection to dementia and oral hygiene, taking care of your mouth and teeth takes on a new meaning.

  • Floss first, then brush

There’s a big difference between picking food out from between your teeth and flossing. Using approximately 18 inches of dental floss, ensure that you go between each tooth carefully to dislodge any remaining bits of food. It’s better to floss before brushing. Flossing will remove the majority of food left behind. Brushing will complete the process.

  • Brush your teeth regularly

Brushing your teeth multiple times a day, especially after meals, is a good preventive practice to remove plaque and bacteria that can cause gum disease. By eliminating these, there’s less chance the gingipains can travel to your brain.

Good Oral Hygiene Can Help Reduce the Risk of Dementia

Ensuring that you maintain proper oral health has more benefits than white teeth and fewer cavities. The bacteria that causes gum disease has been linked to dementia, so proper attention to your oral hygiene is more important than you think.

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