Researchers in Norway have discovered a clear connection between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease.  They determined that gingivitis (gum disease) plays a major role in whether a person develops the chronic neurodegenerative disease.

The University of Bergen researchers say they discovered DNA-based proof that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain.  The bacteria cause a protein that destroys nerve cells in the brain, which in turn leads to loss of memory and ultimately, Alzheimer’s.

They also made sure to point out that the bacteria are not causing the disease alone, but the presence of these bacteria raise the risk for developing Alzheimer’s substantially and are also implicated in a more rapid progression of it.

The study also shows there are things you can do yourself to slow down Alzheimer’s including what should already be standard practice of brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly.

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