The Surprising Connection between Alzheimer’s and Gum Disease

Illustration of the human dentition in frontal view with gums and teeth.

According to statistics from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, nearly 10 % of adults in the United States suffer from periodontitis, better known as gum disease. This widespread problem is far more dangerous than most people realize. In fact, research has shown that periodontitis can cause a variety of health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease and even cancer. Today, Alzheimer’s Disease can be added to the list.

Recent research led by Dr. Stephen Dominy of Cortexyme, Inc. has shown that a specific bacteria, P. gingivalis, which is associated with periodontitis, contributes to the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain. These proteins have already been associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research team noted that P. gingivalis appears in the brains of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This was surprising, since P. gingivalis was previously known solely as a bacteria that promotes the development of periodontitis. However, when studying mice, the research team noted that mice infected with P. gingivalis had a far greater buildup of beta amyloid plaque in their brains than mice that were not infected with this bacteria.

Further research allowed the scientists to conclude that there was a clear association between high levels of toxic enzymes from P. gingivalis and increased levels of specific proteins that have already been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s.

Once the scientists determined that these toxic enzymes increased the risk for developing Alzheimer’s, they began studying methods for counteracting their effects. After numerous attempts, the researchers developed a compound known as COR388, and demonstrated that it was effective in inhibiting the production of these toxic enzymes.

The new compound reduced the production of toxic beta amyloid plaque, and had a protective effect on the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory.

The study appeared in the journal Science Advances. In the words of lead author Dr Dominy: “Now, for the first time, we have solid evidence connecting the intracellular, gram-negative pathogen [P. gingivalis], and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis while also demonstrating the potential for a class of small molecule therapies to change the trajectory of disease.”

Clinical trials are already underway to test this new therapy, and the results so far have been promising.

Day by day scientists are chipping away at the diseases that reduce our quality of life and finding new methods to help us live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

As researchers continue to make progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s, we at Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, continue to provide the best care for those suffering from the disease. We are experts in handling all levels of cognitive impairment, from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

We have created a unique environment and care program specifically designed to address the needs of this population. Our Alzheimer’s Unit is situated in a separate, secure wing to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents. It offers a structured daily routine, mind-stimulating activities, excellent social interaction, with optimal patient independence in a calm and soothing atmosphere.

Read our reviews on,, and to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.

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