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    For Healthy Aging Month, know your mouth may hold the key to your mind

    New research suggests gum disease and memory loss are connected

    Gum disease is common in older people, and may become more common among people who have Alzheimer’s disease because, as the disease gets worse, people have a harder time taking care of their oral health. September is Healthy Aging Month, so let’s focus national attention on growing older without growing less healthy.
     
    New research from King’s College London and the University of Southampton has actually found a link between gum disease and greater rates of memory loss and thinking skills decline in people who have been diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
     
    The researchers found that those people who had gum disease at the beginning of the study had six times the measure of cognitive decline in six months than others.
     
    Why does this matter? According to Healthy Aging Month creator Carolyn Worthington, the two-decade-old event provides inspiration and practical ideas for adults, ages 45 and older, to improve their physical, mental, social and financial well-being.
     
    She says, “We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health, it’s never too late to get started on something new.’ Why not think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and the negative aspects?”
     
    There’s no better time to take control of your health and make oral health a key part of healthy aging.
     
    As this research demonstrates, there may be more at stake than just your mouth. The researchers note that, “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.”
     
    Now we know, take care of your mouth to take care of your mind.