At a recent Journal club, hosted by a local Neurologist, we were joined by a dentist who reviewed some research findings suggesting that Periodontal disease was modestly associated with incident MCI (mild cognitive impairment) and dementia in a community-based cohort of black and white participants.[i] Periodontal disease including gingivitis and periodontitis, are highly prevalent inflammatory diseases that have previously been associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Speech-language pathologists have long been aware of the relationship between oral health and various disease states and recognize and promote the importance of diligent oral care in persons at risk for the development of aspiration pneumonia due to dysphagia. (swallowing impairment).

But what I learned at journal club, that I had not previously known, was that the newborn infant is born with a relatively sterile oral cavity, but immediately after birth, with contact with the outside world through breathing, feeding, and the contact with care providers, the colonization and establishment of microbial begins with the introduction of bacteria and fungi through these multiple pathways. This process is highly dynamic and undergoes rapid changes in composition, towards a stable adult-like structure that harbors distinct microbial communities of unique composition and functions at specific body sites. These early life interactions between the microbiome and human host are responsible for features of postnatal innate and acquired immune functions and physiological development that influences future health.[ii] A tendency to develop periodontal disease later in adult life, therefore, may have a hereditary component.

The mouth is the portal to the gut and its microbial ecology represents a possible marker if not a risk factor for disease. Changes in the function and microbiome of the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract have been documented in Parkinson’s disease, and include theories that suggest that once the initial Lewy Body pathology has been established in the GI tract the faulty protein using vagal nerve fibers as a conduit travel to the brain. Studying the oral microbiome is now the focus of some Parkinson’s research.[iii]

[1] Periodontal disease and incident dementia The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC)Neurology® 2020;95:e1660-e1671. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000010312

[11] Oral microbiome: possible harbinger for children’s health. Jin Xiao 1, Kevin A. Fiscella 2 and Steven R. Gill3,4 International Journal of Oral Science (2020) 12:12 ;

[111] The oral microbiome of early -stage Parkinson’s disease and its relationship with functional measures of motor and non-motor function. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218252

Learn More About the Importance of Oral Care

 NFOSD (National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders) FREE WEBINAR:Thursday Mar 25, 2021 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT

 More than Oral Care – Let’s Talk Oral Infection Control

“This oral infection control talk has been designed for individuals with dysphagia, caregivers and professionals, and includes an introduction to dysphagia in a person-centered approach, where we balance safety issues (aspiration and airway protection) and efficiency concerns (residue leftover after the swallow) with the person’s goals and quality of life.”

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My Mission: To enlist individuals in their treatment, and help them express their personality & spirit through voice. To educate  and empower. Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC-SLP * FiTOUR® Group Exercise Instructor * Voice Aerobics® A Whole Body Approach to Voice Practice

Voice Aerobics the heART and Science of Voice Practice