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  • Writer's pictureBarbara McClatchie, DDS

How Does Your Oral Health Impact Your Brain Health?

In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death. 6.2 million of those living with Alzheimer’s disease are over 65.

Approximately 47 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias worldwide. At this rate, without improvement of care, the total will rise to an estimated 78 million people by 2030. What can we do to improve health care and lower these numbers?

Preventative care can slow and reverse cognitive decline

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. At Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus and The Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center of Central Ohio, we offer salivary diagnostics, periodontal therapy, dementia prevention as ReCode certified providers, and more, to support your oral systemic health journey.

As with many health issues, several factors contribute to cognitive decline. A few of the major factors can be addressed and improved with preventative health care. Our current healthcare system treats patients only after a problem has been found. There is a better way!

Optimal oral and whole body health means reducing inflammation. Our center treats chronic, asymptomatic inflammation associated with gum infections. Periodontal disease is a chronic disease that affects 80% of Americans over the age of 30. By keeping the teeth and gums healthy, the risk of comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, COVID complications, and other chronic inflammatory diseases is greatly diminished.

Why should you visit a preventative dentist to treat your brain health?

There are four areas that drive cognitive decline that a dental provider can address:

  • reduction of systemic inflammation by reversing oral infection like periodontal disease and root canal lesions

  • reduction of metal toxicities by removing old amalgam fillings and replacing with biocompatible composite filling and metal-free crowns

  • identification and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea

  • genetic testing to determine if you have the gene for Alzheimer’s disease

Periodontal disease is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Pathogenic oral bacteria, such as Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (Aa), Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), Treponema denticola (Td), Tannerella forsythia (Tf), Fusobacterium nucleatum (Fn), and Prevotella intermedia (Pi) cause periodontal disease. These oral pathogens don’t stay confined in the mouth; they enter your bloodstream and travel throughout the body. As you can imagine, these pathogenic bacteria can contribute to a host of problems such as diabetes, heart disease, sleep disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease. And did you know? Alzheimer's Disease has earned the nickname: Type 3 Diabetes, since it represents a form of diabetes that selectively affects the brain.

What is ReCODE and The Bredesen Protocol?

Dr. Barbara McClatchie is a certified ReCODE provider in Columbus, Ohio. The ReCODE program is a method of treatment aimed at the reversal of symptoms for patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and those experiencing cognitive decline.

The foundation for ReCODE is The Bredesen Protocol. Dr. Dale Bredesen developed The Bredesen Protocol, which is a comprehensive, personalized program to improve cognition and reverse the cognitive decline of subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and early Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Dale Bredesen has dedicated over 30 years to the study of neurodegenerative diseases and is regarded internationally as an expert in the field.

Issues such as chronic systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, certain pathogens in our environment, and multiple other factors contribute to cognitive decline. ReCODE is "science-based prevention and recovery for brain health.” Using genetic information, blood biomarkers, and multi-faceted reporting, patients, medical professionals, and dental professionals gain targeted treatment options to enhance cognition and optimize brain health.

Advanced testing is available through your oral systemic dentist

Scientific studies have shown that the brain lesions of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers are infiltrated with oral spirochetes. Saliva testing can identify and locate these oral spirochetes and other pathogenic oral bacteria that are implicated in the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Targeted periodontal disease treatment can eliminate this type of infection. Effective treatment can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

On a good day we save a smile, and on a great day we save a life! Your whole body dentist is here to help you on your cognitive health care journey. Contact us today.


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