By Susan Braden
Putting off that trip to the dentist? A recent Gallup poll suggests almost 35% of Americans have neglected going to the dentist for the entire past year. Delaying a trip to your dentist could result in significant damage to your brain and put you at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study by New York University’s College of Dentistry shows a strong link between gum disease and a decrease in cognitive function. Based on twenty years of data, NYUCD’s research certainly makes a case for the importance of regular affordable dental care.
Patients with unhealthy gums performed nine times lower on cognitive tests than those without significant gum inflammation. Dr. Angela Kamer, an assistant professor at NYU and team leader of NYUCD’s new study, researched a related topic in 2008 in which she found that Alzheimer’s patients’ blood work showed more evidence of fighting periodontal disease when compared with that of healthy patients. These findings seem to make the disease more of a threat than other risk factors commonly associated with cognitive dysfunction (such as obesity and smoking) and confirm the urgency of finding affordable dentistry.
Dr. Kamer’s hypothesis is backed by twenty years of data gathered from cognitive tests performed on 152 Danish men and women. Researchers compared the subjects’ test scores at age 50 and 70. The results, presented in July 2010, show a strong correlation between periodontal inflammation and decreased cognitive function. More study is needed to examine what seems to be a significant link between poor oral hygiene or lack of dental care and the degeneration of the brain.
Could you be at risk for Alzheimer’s? One affordable remedy is to schedule your next cheap dentist appointment or cleaning right away to prevent the start or spread of the disease. Almost 75% of American adults have some form of gum disease and are not even aware of it, according to the American Dental Hygienist Association.
Your cognitive health is too important to put off regular visits to your dentist. For more information about how to find affordable dental solutions for gum disease, see this article.