Tooth loss causes cognitive impairment and dementia.
How does tooth loss affect the likelihood of developing dementia?
Tooth loss appears to play a major role in dementia and cognitive impairment. The risk of cognitive decline appears to increase with each tooth loss. What are the risks, and can early dental treatment help prevent cognitive decline?
A study led by New York University researchers looked at how tooth loss affects the likelihood of developing dementia and general cognitive decline. Study results can be found in the English-language journal The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA).
There is a link between tooth loss and memory.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in six people in the United States age 65 and older have lost their teeth. Previous research has also found a link between tooth loss and poor cognitive performance, they claim, with a variety of possible explanations.
Why does tooth loss affect cognitive functions?
Chewing becomes more difficult when teeth are lost, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies or cognitive distortions. According to the researchers, a growing body of evidence suggests a link between gum disease, a major cause of tooth loss, and cognitive impairment. They also suggested that tooth loss could be a sign of lifelong socioeconomic deprivation, and is a risk factor for cognitive decline.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise.
Professor Bai Wu, PhD, of New York University, said, “Given the huge number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia each year and the chance of improved oral health over a lifetime, it is important to have a deeper understanding of the relationship between poor oral health and cognitive decline.” .
The research team performed a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies on tooth loss and cognitive impairment. For this purpose, 14 studies with a total of 34,074 adults were examined. Impairment of cognitive function was found in 4,689 people.
How strongly is tooth loss associated with an increased risk of dementia?
The researchers said adults with more tooth loss were 1.48 times more likely to develop cognitive impairment, and 1.28 times more likely to develop dementia. Even after considering other potential factors, the increased risks persisted.
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