Previous studies have already established a strong link between gum disease and brain health. Because gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss, the researchers of a recent study investigated whether tooth loss might predict decline in brain health. To do that, they analyzed 14 existing studies on the relation between tooth loss and cognitive impairment, which involved a total of 34.074 participants and 4.689 cases of people with decreased cognitive function.

The researchers found that adults with more (than average) tooth loss had a 1.48 times higher risk of developing cognitive impairment and 1.28 times higher risk of having dementia. Another surprizing finding was that people with dentures were less likely to have the declined brain health (23,8%) compared to those without (16,9%).

In their study the researchers also were interested in whether a greater number of missing teeth could lead to a higher risk for cognitive decline. It turned out that each additional missing tooth was linked to a 1,4 % increased risk of cognitive impairment and 1,1% increased risk of dementia.

The findings of this study indicate that tooth loss may predict cognitive decline. At the same time, the study suggests that timely treatment with dentures may protect your brain against cognitive decline. So if you take care of your oral health, you also help indirectly your brain to stay healthy.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

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