The surprising link between dementia and oral health

The surprising link between dementia and oral health


More than 50 systemic health conditions — including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and heart disease — are associated with oral disease. 

The link between systemic and oral conditions is always microbial, inflammatory, or both. So, how can we look after our gums to improve our health?

In today’s episode, Jonathan and Prof. Alp Kantarci pose the question: How does the health of your oral cavity shape your general health?

Dr. Alp Kantarci is a professor, scientist, dentist, oral health researcher, periodontist, dental implant surgeon, and senior member of staff at the Forsyth Institute, an independent research institute that focuses on the connections between oral health and overall wellness. Dr. Kantarci is also a faculty member at Harvard University School of Dental Medicine. He has published more than 190 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has presented more than 170 talks and posters at dental and medical congresses.

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01:35 - Quickfire questions

04:11 - What is oral health?

08:35 - How is our oral health connected to the health of the rest of our body?

11:01 - Oral microbiome

18:48 - Why does bad oral health affect the rest of the body?

22:47 - How much does the state of our oral health contribute to dementia?

25:48 - The link between oral health and diabetes

28:31 - The link between oral health and cardiovascular diseases

32:41 - What are the key steps to look after our oral health?

35:36 - Alp’s view on mouthwash

37:51 - Oral health & probiotics

42:22 - Impact of food on our oral health

45:45 - Does sparkling water affect our oral health?

50:04 - Summary

52:34 - Goodbyes

52:41 - Outro

Mentioned in today’s episode: 

Dementia and the risk of periodontitis: A population-based cohort study from the Journal of Dental Research.

Microglial response to experimental periodontitis in a murine model of Alzheimer’s disease from Scientific Reports.

Fusobacterium nucleatum dissemination by neutrophils from the Journal of Oral Microbiology.

Safety and preliminary efficacy of a novel host-modulatory therapy for reducing gingival inflammation from Frontiers in Immunology.

Episode transcripts are available here.

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