My dear friend Gary Glazner, founder of the well established Alzheimer’s Poetry Project gave me a beautiful opportunity to be in the presence of those suffering from memory loss. It was extremely rewarding for me to volunteer using poetry to engage these institutionalized individuals. I experienced highs, many of which were when my young daughter accompanied me where she sparked joy in the patients, and lows from witnessing deterioration or when someone I grew fond of had passed.
One of my favorite stories was when I brought my daughter to an A
Little did I know the reward I received in working with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project would be a portent to my responsibility as a hygienist to emphasize the prevention of gingivitis as a possible deterrent to Alzheimer’s disease.
Science Advances has recently published a study finding the same periodontal disease microbe P. Gingivalis found in the oral cavity of humans can be found in the brain of those with alzheimer’s disease (AD). Furthermore, the P. gingivalis antigen gingipains were found in AD brains which are toxic and effect neuro function. They began with a study over a 6 month period observing AD patients with chronic periodontal disease as well as those without perio disease and discovered a notable decline in cognition for those with AD accompanied by periodontal disease.
The study introduced P.
Some scientists claim P. gingivalis is a contributing factor to AD but are not convinced this microbe is the sole cause of the disease. The study also found a strain of P. gingivalis in spinal fluid and stated further research was needed to understand the different strains of this bacteria and the virulency they have in the brain.
Interesting to note; the other gingipain producing bacteria, P. gulae, naturally
There is no doubt we have a lot to learn about bacteria and a long way to go in discovering all the different microbes that exist in the human body. Until recently, it was believed we were made up of more bacterial cells than human cells, but now bacterial cells are thought to be equal to human cells, yet we still don’t understand the many roles they have, both healthy and destructive.
The migration of P. gingivalis into a variety of tissue is already well known:
Coronary Arteries – studies have shown 100% of patients
The Placenta – causing low birth weight in babies.
The Liver – affects glycogen synthesis.
My role as a hygienist is to encourage you to have a healthy, non-infected mouth to prevent the many diseases we know of and the ones yet to be discovered. Alzheimer’s disease is well on its way to being linked to gingivitis bacteria, to what extent is yet to be known. A healthy mouth is