New evidence from NYU College of Dentistry supports link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. – August 3, 2010, NYU Today*

Remarkably, results from this study show that, “periodontal inflammation at age 70 was strongly associated with lower DST scores at age 70 [Digit Symbol Test, or DST, a part of the standard measurement of adult IQ].  Subjects with periodontal inflammation were nine times more likely to test in the lower range of the DST compared to subjects with little or no periodontal inflammation.“

Effectively combatting gum disease means thinking in terms of bacteria. If you can remove bacteria (plaque) effectively by brushing and flossing you’re almost there, but here’s the key, not just brushing and flossing – doing it effectively. When you’re done brushing your teeth should feel as smooth as if you’ve had them professional polished – that takes quite some time (see about dry brushing). We’ve all been taught to floss once daily, but to be really effective you’ll want to floss every time you brush.

Health gums do not bleed when brushing and flossing. Try rinsing with salt water daily to kill the germs – it’s a lot more effective than commercial mouthwash, free and comfortable (it’s important to rinse long enough with a concentration to kill the bacteria).

* Thanks to M. Kahn for alerting me to this article.