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No evidence linking Alzheimer’s with dental treatment

14 September 2015

No evidence linking Alzheimer’s with dental treatment

It made headlines last week (“Can you CATCH Alzheimer’s” screamed the Daily Mail’s headline), but there is no evidence that routine dental procedures using common instruments can aid the spread of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the American Association of Endodontists.

Writing in the journal Nature, Professor John Collinge from University College London, and his team, found evidence to suggest that amyloid beta pathology, found in the grey matter and blood vessel walls characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, may be transmissible via certain medical procedures. This raises the possibility that dental procedures could lead to the transmission, but there is little proof of this at the moment.

AAE President Dr Terryl A Propper said: “There is no evidence that root canal treatment poses a risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. There are procedures in place to minimise infection risk from endodontic instruments such as files and reamers. Many endodontists employ single-use instruments and, if not, instruments are thoroughly sterilised prior to each use.”

She cited the author of the study, himself, who indicated that the findings of the research were by no means definitive. Professor John Collinge said: “Our current data has no bearing on dental surgery and certainly does not argue that dentistry poses a risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Dr Propper added: “There is nothing definitive in this study. Questions remain and the study authors acknowledge that more research is needed.”

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