Researchers from New York University have found that tooth loss is tied to an increased risk of dementia, though getting dentures may help reduce that risk. These are the results of a new report published on July 8 in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA). Dementia is a group of thinking and social symptoms that interferes with daily functioning. Although it is not a specific disease, dementia is a group of conditions characterised by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgment. Symptoms include forgetfulness, limited social skills and thinking abilities so impaired that it interferes with daily functioning.
The team analysed 14 studies that included more than 34,000 older adults and nearly 4,700 with diminished thinking (‘cognitive function’) skills and found that adults with more tooth loss had 1.48 times the risk of developing impaired thinking and a 1.28 times increased risk of dementia. Senior author Bei Wu, co-director of the Ageing Incubator at New York University in New York City said, “Our findings underscore the importance of maintaining good oral health and its role in helping to preserve cognitive function.”
The more teeth lost, the greater the risk, her team found. According to the researchers, each additional tooth lost was associated with a 1.4 per cent higher risk of thinking impairment and 1.1 per cent higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia.