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Could Good Oral Hygiene Help with Memory?

February 23, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — boylesdentistry @ 4:11 pm
elderly woman and her granddaughter smiling together

With maturity and age, many people realize that memories are more precious than possessions. Unfortunately, brain shrinkage caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s can rob the afflicted patient of the pleasure of remembering special moments and even special people in their life. Friends and family can also suffer, feeling as though they’ve lost their loved one.

In July of 2023, an important study from the American Academy of Neurology showed a strong association between brain health and oral health. Basically, researchers found that those who had advanced gum disease, which is the top cause of tooth loss, tended to have more brain shrinkage, particularly in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory.

But can memory loss be prevented through good oral hygiene? It’s possible! Learn more about how these two areas of the body are connected and how you may preserve your memories through caring for your smile.

The Connection Between the Mouth and Brain

At first glance, these two body parts seem related only because they are physically close to each other. However, numerous studies, not just the most recent one mentioned above, have found a strong link between oral health and the brain.

This connection could result from the prevalence of bacteria in the mouth. When certain oral bacteria, namely those responsible for advanced gum disease, are allowed to grow and thrive, they infect the gum tissue, cause tooth loss, and enter the bloodstream. Many experts believe that these bacteria can then spread throughout the body, including the brain, potentially contributing to shrinkage of the hippocampus.

How to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

The good news is that taking care of your teeth and gums does not involve complex maintenance. In fact, simple habits are usually enough to prevent harmful bacteria from taking over your smile. These habits include brushing and flossing your teeth every day and going to see the dentist regularly—that’s it! To further limit bacterial growth in the mouth, you can also drink water throughout the day and control your sugar intake.

Your dentist plays an important role because gum disease develops slowly over time, and they are trained to recognize the early signs of infection. Intervention and prevention are the best ways to stop its spread.

Although having a healthy smile may not eliminate all risk of Alzheimer’s and brain shrinkage, it seems to reduce this risk. Taking the time to maintain your oral health may help you hold onto your precious memories and allow you to enjoy healthy relationships with your loved ones as you get older.

About the Practice

The team at Boyles General Dentistry & Dental Implant Center has years of experience and advanced training to treat advanced gum disease and replace missing teeth. However, when it comes to these issues, Dr. Franklin Boyles and Dr. Stephen Boyles prefer to prevent them entirely through regular maintenance and dental visits. Whether you need simple, routine care or more advanced services, you can contact our Midland office online or call 432-685-7011 to schedule an appointment.

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