Brush, floss your way to a healthier brain
We all know that good oral health habits, like flossing and brushing, are associated with a stunning smile. Now, New York University-led analysis suggests that brushing and flossing also protect against cognitive impairment and dementia. Research published in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JADMA) assessed 14 studies on tooth loss and cognitive impairment, which spanned 34,000-plus adults (including around 4,700 cases of decreased cognitive function). Researchers found:
- Adults with greater tooth loss were 1.48 times more likely to have cognitive problems than those with minimal tooth loss.
- Adults with more tooth loss also had 1.28 times higher risk of developing dementia.
- The number of missing teeth positively correlated with elevated cognitive risks; with each missing tooth, the risk increased.
- Dentures appear to have a protective effect by reportedly supporting a healthy diet and positive self-image (central to mental health).
Broadly, it’s thought poor mouth health impairs chewing function and limits healthy food options, which leads to nutrient deficiencies. They also noted a correlation between oral inflammation and brain inflammation. The analyses seem to support previous findings; for instance, gum disease bacteria, P. gingivalis, has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Lastly, these findings are thought to reflect lifelong social and economic disadvantages, such as poor access to health care and nutritious foods. The study reinforces the importance of visiting dentists like Dr. Ansari, starting at an early age and continuing throughout adulthood and into one’s golden years. More details on the study can be found Read the full article here.