It sounds crazy I know, but the state of your teeth and gums can actually cause your brain to shrink.
How can this possibly be, I hear you say? It turns out that the loss of teeth and even mild gum disease, has been shown to cause a faster rate of shrinkage in the left hippocampus. If gum disease is severe, the deterioration speeds up.
The loss of each tooth equals one year of brain ageing
It’s been known for awhile that oral health is linked to all kinds of health conditions, but now it’s thought there’s even a connection to dementia.
A marker of Alzheimer’s is shrinkage of the hippocampus
This means that taking care of our oral health is incredibly important. How to do this? Regular brushing and flossing for a start. Visiting the hygienist in your dental surgery is also a great way of removing a build up of plaque and staying on top of gum disease.
Bleeding gums are a sure sign of gum disease
Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition usually caused by poor oral hygiene. It causes a build up of plaque ( a kind of bacteria ) and this can lead to bleeding gums. When you brush your teeth, ideally there should be no bleeding. However, it’s important to note that some people are more prone to gum disease than others. I’m one of these unfortunates and the way I stay on top of it, is by being absolutely scrupulous in maintaining my oral hygiene.
I visit the hygienist 3 or 4 times a year, which has enabled me to maintain my gums with no further inflammation or issues. I also brush 2 or 3 times a day and every night I floss and use interdent brushes as recommended by my dentist.
If your gums bleed you need to take action now
Research has shown that as many as 45% of people may have gum disease and not even know it. The reason being is that often there’s no sign of it or there are no symptoms until the condition is quite advanced.
Bleeding gums or red swollen areas are a sure sign that gum disease is present. As it becomes more advanced, gums will pull away from teeth making them appear longer. Teeth can also become loose and sores can even appear in the mouth.
A healthy lifestyle and a diet of fresh vegetables and fruit and whole foods also helps to maintain a healthy mouth. Although for some people like myself, more action is needed.
Whatever your age, it’s important to become very proactive with your oral health
This will help prevent problems in some and stop further deterioration in others. Middle aged people need to do everything to prevent brain shrinkage. Women, specially, already have to contend with the hormonal upheaval due to the menopause, which can affect the brain in all sorts of ways.
The menopause often leaves women with “fuzzy brain”
The last thing we need on top of that is brain shrinkage!