Oral Health & Alzheimer’s: Don’t Forget to Floss!

When it comes to health, we often think of our body as a series of separate systems, each with its own set of rules and maintenance requirements. However, emerging research is shedding light on the intricate connections between various aspects of our well-being. One such connection that has recently garnered attention is the link between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease. It turns out that keeping your gums and teeth healthy might have a positive impact on your brain. So, don’t forget to floss! In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating connection between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Oral-Systemic Connection

The concept of the oral-systemic connection is gaining prominence in the field of medicine. It recognizes that the health of your mouth is closely related to the health of your entire body. Poor oral health, such as gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), is associated with systemic inflammation, which is a known risk factor for various health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Inflammation and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects memory, cognitive function, and behavior. While its exact cause remains unclear, inflammation is believed to play a crucial role in its development and progression. Chronic inflammation in the brain, often referred to as neuroinflammation, is associated with the formation of beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, two hallmark features of Alzheimer’s disease.

The inflammation in the brain can be exacerbated by systemic inflammation in other parts of the body, such as that resulting from gum disease. This systemic inflammation can trigger an immune response and contribute to the development of neuroinflammation.

Research Findings

Several studies have explored the link between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease. While more research is needed to establish a definitive causal relationship, some findings are intriguing:

  1. Bacterial Link: Studies have identified specific oral bacteria, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. This suggests that bacteria from the mouth may travel to the brain, potentially exacerbating neuroinflammation.
  1. Inflammatory Markers: Elevated levels of inflammatory markers in the blood, often associated with gum disease, have been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
  1. Tooth Loss: Research has shown that the number of remaining teeth in old age is correlated with cognitive function. Individuals with more remaining teeth tend to have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Preventive Measures

Maintaining good oral health is not only essential for your teeth and gums but also for your brain. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

  1. Brush and Floss: Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily.
  1. Regular Dental Check-Ups: Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
  1. Balanced Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and nutrients supports overall health, including your oral and cognitive health.
  1. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated helps maintain the production of saliva, which helps clean the mouth and reduce the risk of oral infections.
  1. Quit Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease and systemic inflammation.
  1. Manage Chronic Conditions: If you have conditions like diabetes or heart disease, keeping them well-managed can reduce the risk of gum disease.


The connection between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease is a reminder that our bodies are complex and interconnected systems. Taking care of your oral health can potentially have a positive impact on your cognitive health. So, as you reach for your toothbrush and floss, don’t just think of your pearly whites—remember that you might also be doing your brain a favor. It’s a simple and effective way to support your overall well-being and potentially reduce your risk of cognitive decline in the long run.