MEDICAL NEWS TODAY – In a new meta-analysis, researchers have identified a connection between tooth loss and a risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
The researchers found that the more teeth a person had lost, the greater their risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
The research, published in JAMDA: The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, lays the ground for researchers to determine whether tooth loss causes cognitive decline and dementia, and if so, what accounts for this.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, around 5 million people aged 65 years or older in the United States have dementia.
Dementia refers to a variety of conditions characterized by cognitive issues that affect a person’s everyday life.
The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for 60–80% of dementia cases. However, it can also be due to a stroke.
Other types of the condition include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia, which can involve multiple types of dementia.
There is no known cure for neurodegenerative dementias, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and clinicians typically manage the symptoms. They also recommend eating a more balanced diet and increasing physical activity to reduce the likelihood of developing some dementias.
In addition to looking for a cure for the most common types of dementia, researchers are interested in identifying any potential risk factors for the condition.
Tooth loss link?
One area of research is the possible connection between tooth loss and dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association notes that as a person’s Alzheimer’s develops, they may need help remembering to brush their teeth and maintain good dental hygiene.
However, researchers have suggested there may be a causal link between tooth loss and dementia and cognitive decline.
The authors of the present study highlight that current meta-analyses looking at the association between tooth loss, dementia, and cognitive decline have produced mixed results.
To help clarify the connection, they conducted a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies following patients over time, thus aiming to provide contemporary evidence … Click here to read more.