Alzheimer’s linked to gum disease

Gum disease may play a pivotal role in the development of Alzheimer’s, scientists believe, leading to hopes that good dental care or drugs could halt dementia.

Researchers said they had “solid evidence” that the bacteria behind periodontitis, the formal name for gum disease, produces an enzyme that destroys neurons and leads to memory loss. In a series of experiments, an international team tested the brains of 53 people with Alzheimer’s disease and found the bacteria enzyme Porphyromonas gingivalis in 96 per cent of them

The researchers believe the bacteria may be responsible for the telltale tangles of tau proteins seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, which contribute to the death of brain cells.

The study was published in the journal Science Advances.

Grahame White