If Surgical Equipment At Risk, So Are Dental Tools
Editor’s Note: Although we agree with the following article to some extent, it overlooks the possibility of contracting Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of deadly prion disease from contaminated dental instruments. We can only assume that a certain percentage of people who have prion disease (Alzheimer’s and CJD, for example), both diagnosed and undiagnosed carriers, visit their dentists each year for checkups and procedures that involve various reusable instruments. Since these carriers of prion disease can transmit prions via saliva, blood and other bodily fluids, a variety of instruments are exposed to prions and impossible to sterilize thereafter. Reusing such instruments on additional patients is an infectious pathway that must be addressed for the safety of dentists, dental hygiene specialists, patients and entire families. Actor Peter Falk is a good example (his story is in our eBook).
A new study from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) School of Medicine and Dentistry suggests that poor dental health and gum disease may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Although past studies have suggested a link between oral health and neurodegenerative disease, this is the first to pinpoint a specific gum disease bacteria in the brain.
The research, which has received international collaboration, and led by Professor St. John Crean and Dr. Sim Singhrao from UCLan, examined brain samples donated by 10 patients without dementia and 10 patients suffering from dementia. The research demonstrated the presence of products from Porphyromonas gingivalis in brains from patients suffering from dementia.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is found in the oral cavity, major causative agent of chronic periodontitis . Chronic periodontitis is a common disease of the oral cavity consisting of chronic inflammation of the periodontal tissues caused by accumulation of profuse amounts of dental plaque.
“This is an incredible discovery for both mental health and oral health. In terms of modern dentistry, this specific finding may provide greater acceptance that improved regular hygiene can help reduce a person’s risk of developing many significant health problems,” said James Loye.
“Whereas previous studies have indicated a link between dementia and other bacteria and viruses such as the herpes simplex virus type I, this new research indicates a possible association between gum disease and individuals who may be susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s disease, if exposed to the appropriate trigger!,” said Professor St. John Crean. Dean, School of Medicine & Dentistry. “Research currently underway at UCLan is playing an active role in exploring this link, but it remains to be proven whether poor dental hygiene can lead to dementia in healthy people, which obviously could have significant implications for the population as a whole. It is also likely that these bacteria could make the existing disease condition worse.”
Reacting to the findings, Alison Cook, director of external affairs at the U.K.’s Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There have been a number of studies looking at the link between dementia and inflammation caused by factors including poor dental health.
Dr. Sim Singhrao, PhD, a senior research fellow at the university says: “This could mean that visits to the dentist could be vital for brain health.”