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21 Feb 2019

Periodontitis and Alzheimer’s, there a relationship?

Alzheimer’s is one of the diseases that cause dementia that affects especially  old age people. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s increases with age and will not decrease significantly unless the new treatment approaches would be implemented in order to delay the establishment of the disease, slow its progression or reverse its process. For this reason, all efforts aimed at identifying those treatable factors related to the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s are of vital importance.

Its early appearance is strongly related to the genetic factor while its later appearance, mostly all the patients, is associated with the interaction of genetics and other environmental factors. Among the accepted risk factors are some that are immutable and others that are modifiable. Ergo there is a potential for intervention in modifiable factors to limit the prevalence and morbidity of this disease in the future.

Nowadays, the molecular mechanisms related to the etiology of Alzheimer’s are not completely known, but it is believed that inflammation in the central nervous system may play an important role. Preliminary studies show the relationship between the acceleration of the onset of the disease and peripheral infections, such as periodontitis. Inflammatory molecules produced as a result of peripheral infections can contribute to the increase of inflammatory brain molecules.

Periodontitis and Alzheimer

Periodontal diseases or infection of the gums are a group of inflammatory diseases that affect the supportive tissue of the tooth. The higher prevalence of periodontal disease is caused by the relationship between specific bacteria and the inflammatory products produced by the patient reponse. Clinically, the destruction of supporting tissue around the tooth causes the appearance of periodontal pockets that can be an important source of inflammatory mediators inducted by bacteria.

Periodontitis is a very common infection among the population and its prevalence increases with age. For this reason, advanced or severe periodontitis can be a source of peripheral inflammation within the population. Periodontal bacteria, especially P Gingivalis, can cause systemic affectations through bacteremia, endotoxemia (gingipains) and transmission of virulent factors to the blood system.

Thus, knowing that periodontitis is a contributing factor to systemic inflammation and that inflammation close related to the cause and progression of Alzheimer’s, last scientific and medical articles conclude that periodontitis can be a risk factor for the incidence and progression of Alzheimer’s.

The possible involvement of periodontitis in the beginning and progression of Alzheimer’s has great importance since periodontal infections are treatable. , periodontal disease is a modifiable risk factor and by treating the periodontal condition we can reduce the risk of the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

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    Dr. José Nart Molina

    Dr. Jose Nart received his dental degree in 2001 from Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC), Barcelona, Spain, and his Advanced Certificate in Periodontics and Implant Surgery from Tufts University in 2007. Dr. Nart was awarded Diplomate status by the American Board of Periodontology on May 2008, and he obtained his PhD in Dentistry in 2010 with the highest degree. Currently, he is Professor, Chairman and Program Director at the Department of Periodontology at UIC-Barcelona, and President for the Spanish Society of Periodontology and Osseointegration (SEPA). He maintains, with his family, a well-known multispecialty private practice in Barcelona, Nart Dental Clinic, as medical director. Dr. Nart is author of many international high-impact JCR publications (+110), worldwide speaker and reviewer of the highest impact factor Periodontology and Implant Dentistry journals.

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