Dementia is a sad reality for millions of Americans, and researchers all over the world are working towards a way to prevent and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, new studies show promising measures that can be implemented to delay the onset of the disease, especially if they’re done early in life. You might be surprised to learn that one small thing you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease is flossing each day. It’s true. A recent study confirmed the link between Alzheimer’s and gum disease. So while science hasn’t given us a silver bullet for dementia yet, there are ways you can actively prevent dementia. Read on to learn more about the link between Alzheimer’s and gum disease, and what you can do to prevent and treat symptoms of gum disease.

Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s

Even kids learn from a young age that one of the important habits is to develop good oral hygiene habits. Brushing and flossing those pearly whites isn’t just about avoiding cavities and extra trips to the dentist –– these healthy practices also help protect you from gum disease.

The best way to avoid gum disease and periodontitis is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing every day, and visiting your regular dentist every 6 months for a dental cleaning and a checkup. Your dentist can remove plaque and tartar buildup while also looking out for the early signs of gum problems.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Plaque build up on your teeth can cause gum inflammation, or gingivitis. Since gingivitis is painless in the early stages, you may not even be aware that you have it. Your dentist and dental hygienist will check your gums for inflammation at your regular checkups, but here are some signs of gingivitis:

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Red, tender, or swollen gum tissue
  • Gum recession or tissues pulling away from the teeth
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus appearing between the teeth and gums
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down

Smoking, poor oral hygiene, hormonal changes, poor diet, and even chronic diseases can increase your risk of developing gingivitis. But, if caught early enough, there are treatment options for gingivitis that can reverse the damage.

Gum disease treatments range from non-invasive to invasive. Your dentist may start by recommending more frequent dental cleanings at his or her office. As the disease advances, so do the treatment options. Your dentist might recommend a “deep cleaning” process called scaling and root planing. Unfortunately, surgery and bone grafts might be necessary to treat advanced cases of periodontal disease.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of gingivitis, please contact your general dentist for a checkup and a cleaning. Catching gum disease early is the best way to reverse the damage done to your teeth and gums. Remember that prevention is every bit as important as treatment. Keeping up with good dental hygiene habits –– like brushing and flossing twice per day –– and seeing your general dentist for regular cleanings and checkups is key.

Knowing that your brain health is closely related to your oral health should be all the motivation you need to practice consistent dental hygiene. If you’re concerned about your risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, be sure to talk to your dentist and primary care physician about additional steps you can take to prevent dementia in the future.

Here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, we make it our mission to restore our patients’ smiles and relieve their pain. Our team of doctors are experienced in keeping patients comfortable through the treatment process. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation at our location in Pueblo or Colorado Springs!