Scientists from the University of Central Lancashire have found that brushing teeth regularly can not only reduce the risk of developing oral cancer, heart disease and diabetes, but can help prevent dementia as well.
The researchers discovered that there is a clear link between how regularly a person cleans their teeth and dementia.
This is because bacteria that cause gum disease can reach the brain and destroy neurons, damaging nerve cells and triggering possible memory loss.
The study was led by Professor Stjohn Crean and Dr. Sim Singhrao and involved brain tissue from 10 patients not suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and 10 patients diagnosed with the condition. The scientists discovered that the brains of patients with the illness were infected with the bug generally deemed to cause gum disease.
The link between dementia and other bacteria and viruses has already been identified in previous studies.
Yet this new study now indicates a possible relation between gum disease and people who may be prone to developing dementia if exposed to the appropriate trigger, Crean explained.
“People should not neglect brushing teeth and pay regular visits to the dentist to reduce infections in their mouths” he said.
The results come after a separate study confirmed that people brushing their teeth once a day face a 65% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those cleaning their teeth three times a day, particularly women.
Oral hygiene care should also include the use of dental floss and micro brushes for cleaning in between teeth, interface brushes for cleaning the back off lower front teeth and reaching the last tooth in each quadrant of the month. Electric toothbrushes can also be a useful adjunct. However, most mouthwashes have very few benefits unless there is gum infection, in which case mouthwashes containing Chlorhexidine can be used for a short term ( 2 weeks). Tongue cleaners form a great way of reducing the bacteria in your mouth.