Good oral health not only keeps your breath minty fresh and your teeth pearly white, but also helps protect your brain; specifically, your memories.

ACCORDING TO RECENT RESEARCH, there’s a relationship between gum disease and your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

What the Science Says

Porphyromonas gingivalis (a fancy name for a specific type of bacteria) is the main culprit responsible for gum disease. However, it can affect more than just your mouth. Scientists also find this bacteria in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s ­– suggesting that it may contribute to the disease’s development.

Other research further solidifies this connection. In one study, researchers analyzed patients diagnosed with chronic periodontitis (CP)-a type of gum disease–and compared them with patients without CP. The results showed that after 10 years, those with CP had more than one and a half times the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

To Brush, or Not to Brush?

It can be easy to justify skipping oral care at the end of the day. After all, your pillow is oh-so comfy and your bathroom is oh-so far away! But no matter how old you are-or how tired-brushing and flossing need to be at the top of your to-do list. After all, poor brushing and flossing habits let plaque build up on your teeth and can lead to gum disease.

Symptoms of gum disease include:

• Tender, swollen, or bleeding gums

• Loose teeth

• Painful chewing

If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to tell your dentist. Your dentist can check whether you have gum disease and recommend treatment. 

Taking Care of Your Teeth 

When it comes to your health, brushing is a no-brainer (and a brain-helper!). Follow these tips to promote a lifetime of beautiful smiles and lasting memories:

• Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

• Floss once a day. Rinse your mouth with water after you floss.

• Visit your dentist once or twice a year for a checkup and cleaning.

• Avoid sugary foods, sweetened drinks, and tobacco.

To learn more about how many Medicare Advantage plans include different policies that will help with routine dental care, schedule a personal consultation with an Ohio Health Benefit agent by calling toll free at (866) 235-8378 or click here to email us your name and phone number for us to call you. Calls are not recorded and your information is confidential.

Healthy Activity www.USAHC.com