Flossing your teeth isn’t just important for keeping your dentist happy; it may also protect against cognitive decline. Good oral health habits like brushing and flossing may prevent cognitive impairment and dementia
To better understand how oral health relates to dementia, scientists from New York University analyzed 14 studies which covered more than 34,000 participants, of whom 4,689 cases were people with some form of diminished cognitive function.
The researchers wanted to see whether there is a connection between tooth loss, dementia, and cognitive decline and whether there is any relationship between the number of teeth lost and the risk of developing dementia or cognitive decline.
While the researchers identified an association between tooth loss and dementia and cognitive decline, they also found that wearing dentures significantly reduced the association — a finding supported by *4 previous research.
*2The results showed that adults with more tooth loss had a 1.48 times higher risk of cognitive impairment and 1.28 times higher risk of dementia, even when other factors were controlled.
They note, however, that it is not clear what mechanism is behind the relationship between tooth loss and cognitive decline and dementia.
They suggest this could be due to morphological changes that occur when a person consumes food without teeth, or due to the effects of changed nutritional intake when consuming food without teeth.
Dementia was not linked to having dentures, suggesting timely treatment may ward off cognitive decline.