Does Tooth Loss Lead to Mental Decline? Or Vice-Versa?
October 04, 2007
According to researchers in the U.K., older people who have lost all their teeth are more than three times more likely to develop memory problems and dementia than those who still have teeth left.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Robert Stewart of Kings College London, admits this study raises more questions than it answers, and that at this point they are not able to say what causes what. However, he states the take-home message is, “Particular attention may need to be paid to the health and nutrition of people with cognitive impairment because they may also have dental problems.”
A lot of research now focuses on the associations between diet and dementia, especially Alzheimer’s. But poor dental health may also boost your risk of cognitive problems, because:
Dental disease often causes prolonged inflammation and infection in your mouth, which may alter some factors in your blood, possibly causing problems in your brain.
People who lose their teeth tend to alter their diet. A less balanced diet can result in vitamin deficiencies and other problems that might alter or affect brain function.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society September, 2007; 55(9):1410-4
Yahoo News September 18, 2007