It’s evident to all that losing teeth affects the physical and emotional health of any person. However, recent research has shown an association between cognitive function and tooth loss, a link that may come unexpected to many.
Researchers at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) link tooth loss and periodontal disease to cognitive decline in one of the largest and longest prospective studies on the topic to date, released in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
There are studies that have found that high inflammation levels (characteristic of periodontal disease) has been found in those with Alzheimer’s. Dr. Kaye asserts,
“Periodontal disease and caries are infectious diseases that introduce inflammatory proteins into the blood,” she says. “There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that inflammation raises your risk of cognitive decline and it could be that gum inflammation is one of the sources.”
Risk factors for periodontal disease include:
- Use of tobacco (smoking or chewing)
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
- Some types of medication such as steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Fillings that have become defective
- Pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives
Thankfully, periodontal disease is preventable. Brushing, flossing and routine dental cleanings will help you to maintain a healthy mouth and help maintain overall cognitive health as well.
Click here for the complete article on Tooth Loss and Cognitive Function.