It seems so if the latest research is to be believed.
Scientists think the link is based on bacterial periodontal disease which has been found in the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Unfortunately, the researchers studied just 20 known patients who died recently. They were given permission to examine their brains with half known to have suffered from the memory disorder.
Four of the patients’ brains were found to have the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacterium. This seems to indicate that the bacterium is able to pass through the blood-brain barrier. In turn, the bacterium attacks those parts of the brain that are known to cause dementia.
Although this piece of research is useful, because the sample size was small, scientists are warning not to read too much into the relationship at this stage.
That said it is now well known that oral health is directly linked to more general diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. As such, they see no reason why there is not also a link between poor dental health and Alzheimer’s disease.
Speaking with reporters, Dr Simon Ridley from Alzheimer’s Research UK stated that it was an early study with a limited number of samples that observed bacteria linked to periodontal disease in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s.
Dr Ridley admits however that more research needs to be carried out before offering definitive results.