As we kiss Summer goodbye and begin to welcome Autumn, we enter the World Alzheimer’s Month of September. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is believed to affect nearly 50 million people worldwide. These numbers are rising with each passing year. If breakthroughs are not discovered, it is predicted that this figure could rise to 74.7 million by 2030, and over 131 million by 2050.
There are many useful articles on the internet suggesting ways in which we can help ourselves to avoid developing this disease, with many tips revolving around diet and exercise. Additionally, it has recently been suggested that keeping our gums healthy may also help to avoid Alzheimer’s.
Researchers from Chung Shan Medical University and the National Defense Medical Center, both in Taiwan, have completed a study which shows a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The study used data from the National Health Insurance Program of Taiwan and examined people aged 50 or over who had a 10 year or longer history of periodontitis. Known as a ‘retrospective cohort study’, researchers checked whether they developed Alzheimer’s disease at a later date, comparing them with people who did not have chronic periodontitis. They discovered that these people did have a 70% increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s than people without chronic periodontitis. They concluded:
“Our findings support the notion that infectious diseases associated with low-grade inflammation, such as chronic periodontitis, may play a substantial role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease… These findings highlight the need to prevent progression of periodontal disease and promote healthcare services at the national level.”
The link between long-term periodontitis and Alzheimer’s was present even after researchers adjusted for other factors that might influence the development of Alzheimer’s, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and urban environment. Gum disease can lead on to all manner of unpleasant outcomes, including tooth loss, abscesses, bleeding gums and bad breath. With these findings linking gum disease to Alzheimer’s, there is even more reason to make sure you are taking proper care of your oral health and visiting us for regular routine examinations.
It is known that excessive amounts of sugar consumption can also lead to gum disease, and it is worth noting again that recent studies have found a link between sugar and Alzheimer’s – indeed, the study analysed the diets of 2,226 pensioners over 7 years and found that those who added more than 2 and a half spoonful’s of sugar to their cups of tea or coffee were 54% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who added none. Those who drank sugary, fizzy drinks or fruit juices, or added sugar to their bowls of cereal or puddings also faced significant increased risks. As dentists, we are always telling you to cut down on your sugar intake, but this is yet another health implication to bolster our argument.
To reduce your risk of gum disease, you need to make sure that you are maintaining a proper oral healthcare routine:
• Brush your teeth gently, twice a day, for at least 2 minutes.
• Use dental floss and mouthwash
• Stick to a healthy diet
• Drink lots of water
• Attend routine dental examinations here at the practice
If you would like any advice on how to keep your teeth and gums healthy, please call us on 020 8958 0136 to book an appointment. In the meantime, if your gums are bleeding or you are experiencing any kind of pain in your mouth, do not hesitate to pop in. We can take fast, appropriate action on gum disease – the earlier we catch it, the better!
Have you been enjoying the sun over the last week? If so, did you know that the benefits from catching some rays extend well beyond getting a tan?
We all know how beneficial calcium is for the health of our teeth, but did you know that vitamin D is also essential, and a deficiency is thought to increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease?
Whilst teeth aren’t bones, they’re made up of similar tissue and therefore prone to many issues if a person develops rickets (which is one of the main side effects of vitamin D deficiency) including delayed bone formation in children, periodontal disease and caries.
Vitamins as a group are nutrients which cannot be created by the body and therefore must be taken in through our diet. Yet vitamin D can be made by our body when sunlight hits our skin.
In the UK 1 in 5 people have a Vitamin D deficiency, mainly due the lack of bright sunlight we experience, especially in the Autumn and Winter months. In recent years government health advisors have recommended boosting our levels with supplements which are cheap and can be bought from pharmacies, supermarkets or health food shops.
Ironically one of the suspected reasons for the recent increase in diagnoses of vitamin D deficiency, apart from a greater awareness by GP’s, is that we are all using SPF sunblock more than ever before, and this can prevent the UVB rays from reaching our skin. Yet this is obviously necessary to prevent skin cancer and premature aging, so how can we boost our level without risking these side effects?
• Take daily supplement containing vitamin D 10 mcg (400 international units) during Autumn and Winter months (October-April)
• Sensible sun exposure – Health experts have estimated sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times per week (certainly less than the time it takes for skin to redden or burn) is probably a safe balance between adequate vitamin D levels and any risk of skin cancer.
• Eat foods which provide vitamin D like fatty fish including tuna, mackerel, and salmon. There are also foods fortified with Vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, cereals, cheese and egg yolks.
So for the next few weeks enjoy the sun healthily, knowing you’re getting a boost of feelgood factor.
Mouth Cancer in the UK
Although Mouth Cancer only accounts for 2% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK each year it still takes the lives of more than 2,000 people, more people than testicular and cervical cancer combined. It also takes more lives a year than road traffic accidents.
In the UK, more than 7,000 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year. The disease has grown by a third in the last decade and remains one of very few cancers which are predicted to increase further in the coming years.
By knowing more about the risk factors, living healthier lifestyles and by learning what to look out for you can help reduce your risk of contracting Mouth Cancer.
Early Detection Saves Lives
Early detection is crucial to increase your chances of survival and Mouth Cancer can often be spotted during a thorough mouth examination. If recognised early, then the chances of a cure are good.
Although there are risk factors heavily linked to the disease (most cases are linked to tobacco and alcohol) Mouth Cancer can affect anybody – that’s why it’s so important to know what to look out for.
Don’t leave a mouth ulcer unattended for more than three weeks. Don’t ignore any unusual lumps or swellings or red and white patches in your mouth.
Early detection could save your life.
Get a Full Dental Health Check
If you notice any changes in your mouth please call JL Dental Care immediately on 020 8958 0136 and book an appointment to see Jonathan or Leigh Ann for a full dental health check.
If you were one of the people who took part in our recent Patient Satisfaction Survey we’d like to thank you for the resounding endorsement in the service we provide.
As you will see from the above image, over 98% of people who took part rated the confidence level in their dentist as Excellent or Above Average.
We are delighted with this and also some of the very kind statements made, a few of which we’ve outlined below:
“Excellent service and customer care”
“Very professional and their attention to details to every patient is remarkable”
“Always a great, comfortable, professional experience, with all options explained thoroughly”
“It is always a pleasure to see everyone. I had a huge fear of dentistry but Jonathan very calmly explained away all my worries”