demential oral health dentist

5 Ways to Lower Your Dementia Risk: How it’s Connected to Oral Health

Dementia is a general term used to describe disorders that deteriorate brain health, including Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia is a devastating disorder that affects more than 5 million people in America, and chances are you have a loved one or you know someone with a relative or friend that has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. While treatments and medications have consistently come up short on developing a cure, there are a few simple things you can start doing today to lower your risk of dementia.

Watch the Copper Levels in Your Water

Everyone needs a small amount of the natural heavy metal copper for bone, hormonal, and nerve health, but too much can cause problems for your brain. Studies have found that too much copper can trigger the development of Alzheimer’s and worsen the disease. If you’re wondering where you would get copper into your body, it is commonly found in water, especially if you have copper pipes. A study found that copper in drinking water at only one tenth of the amount the EPA set as safe caused an accumulation in the pro-Alzheimer’s protein called amyloid beta in test subjects. Look into getting your water checked for levels of copper, especially if you have copper pipes.

Avoid Certain Allergy Drugs

There are now certain drugs linked to dementia which include common allergy and sleep medications like Benadryl, Dramamine, Advil PM, and Unison. The reason why these drugs are risky for dementia is because they are anticholinergics, which is an agent found in a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous system. Scientists have found these agents to be linked to dementia. A recent study used brain imaging to detect how anticholinergic drugs affected the brain, and they found that they caused lower brain metabolism and higher brain atrophy. If you’re taking any of these types of drugs, find out if they have anticholinergic qualities.

Sleep on Your Side

Sleeping on your side is a natural position for humans and even animals. Studies have found that sleeping on your side can help your brain clear any built up waste, essentially helping it to flush out and drain substances that can accumulate there. When your brain is able to properly clear its waste, it can lower your risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The glymphatic pathway in the brain is responsible for its waste-clearing processes, and when you sleep on your side, you clear this pathway best.

Eat Organic

The pesticides in our food can have devastating effects on our health. They can cause allergies, asthma, and plenty of health issues including dementia. Dementia isn’t just an issue with genetics, and environmental factors like pesticides including DDT, can damage vital organs. The insecticide DDT which was once labeled as safe and later banned in the ‘70s, is a major concern for dementia risk. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of DDT in their blood had a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. While it is banned now, DDT remains in the environment for decades and can still be harmful. Buy organic produce, and if you can’t buy everything organic, be sure to choose the organic version of the produce listed under the Dirty Dozen. And be careful where you buy your meat and fish from, avoid eating nonorganic animal sources, and look for wild caught seafood.

Make Oral Health a Priority

Taking care of your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits can obviously help protect your overall oral health, but recent studies have shown that oral health is also connected to heart and brain health. There has been evidence of a link between those with poor oral health and the onset of Alzheimer’s. The bacteria that forms when gum disease is developing can leak into the brain, triggering an inflammatory response that can cause brain damage. Those who reported to brush their teeth less than once a day had a 65 percent higher chance of developing dementia than those who brushed twice a day. You can supplement your oral hygiene regimen with the ancient practice of oil pulling, which helps to pull toxins out of your mouth.

In addition to a regular at-home oral care practice, it is also essential that you develop a close relationship with your dentist and see them at least twice a year for cleanings. They can make sure that your oral health is in tip-top shape and can recognize any warning signs right away that need to be taken care of.

Get in touch with the dental practitioners at Infinite Dental Wellness today and schedule an appointment for a cleaning to maintain or improve your oral health, and help fight your risk of dementia along with these other tips.