Patients with Alzheimer's and dementia are sit inside the Alzheimer foundation in Mexico City April 19, 2012.
Patients with Alzheimer's and dementia are sit inside the Alzheimer foundation in Mexico City April 19, 2012. Reuters/Edgard Garrido

Scientists have found that it is possible to slow down Alzheimer’s progression with regular brushing of teeth. This is because gum diseases speed up mental decline by six times. People in old age struggle to maintain their oral hygiene which may lead to Periodontitis. With the progressing of old age, this problem can get even worse.

Scientists believe that periodontal bacteria increase levels of inflammation in the body. This may lead to greater mental decline in those with Alzheimer’s. University of Southampton and King’s College London studied 59 people with mild to moderate dementia for a period of six months. They kept monitoring the state of their gums.

Those with gum diseases at the start of the study showed mental decline six times faster than those with healthy teeth. This has led researchers to point out that proper mental health could be an easy way to lessen the impacts of Alzheimer’s.

“If there is a direct relationship between periodontitis and cognitive decline, as this current study suggests, then treatment of gum disease might be a possible treatment option for Alzheimer’s,” said senior author from the University of Southampton, Prof. Clive Holmes.

In another research, a worldwide team of 31 senior scientists and clinicians suggested that microbes are the major cause of dementia. The deadly degenerative disease could be caused by viruses like herpes, writes The Telegraph. The main culprits are cold sore-causing herpes virus, chlamydia bacteria and a type of corkscrew-shaped bacteria called spirochaete.

According to the experts, Alzheimer’s is triggered by bacterial or viral infection that builds up misfolded tau proteins and sticky amyloid plaques inside the brain that prevent neurons from communicating with each other.

The herpes virus, which is the most dangerous, damages the limbic system and the central nervous system and causes mental decline and personality changes. Moreover, gene mutation APOEe4, which makes one in five people more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, raises their susceptibility to infectious disease.