Tooth Loss Associated With Increased Cognitive Impairment, Dementia

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April 19, 2022

Dentist holding X-ray

Finally, there has been a proven link between tooth health and later-life cognitive decline. For each tooth lost, the greater the risk for dementia or long term memory issue increase. Poor oral health is often linked to overall health in elderly patients. Over 14 studies involving over 34,000 people found that tooth loss and cognitive impairment and had a 1.48 times higher risk of developing cognitive impairment and 1.28 times higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia.

Key Takeaways:

  • This risk was not significant among older adults with dentures, suggesting that prompt treatment may protect against cognitive decline.
  • However, the good news is that people with minimal tooth loss and mild gum disease were no more likely to develop thinking problems or dementia than people without dental problems.
  • These changes trigger a decline in thinking skills, also known as cognitive skills, severe enough to affect daily life and independent function. They also affect behaviour, feelings, and relationships.

“adults missing teeth were more likely to have cognitive impairment if they did not have dentures (23.8 percent) compared to those with dentures (16.9 percent); a further analysis revealed that the association between tooth loss and cognitive impairment was not significant when participants had dentures.”

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