Take care of your teeth – you will save your sanity
Age-related tooth loss linked to dementia risk
Denis Strigun, Naked Science
Japanese scientists have found that age-related tooth loss is associated with an increased risk of dementia. The results are published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Takeuchi et al., Tooth Loss and Risk of Dementia in the Community: the Hisayama Study).
Due to the demographic aging of the population, the relevance of research on age-related diseases is growing. One of them is dementia, which is expressed in the breakdown of mental functions caused by brain damage. According to statistics, 9.9 million new cases of dementia are detected annually in the world, while there are no ways to treat it. Therefore, scientists are looking for ways to diagnose cognitive disorders early and improve the quality of life of patients.
Past work has shown that oral health is associated with cognitive status. However, how cognitive impairments and, for example, tooth loss correlate has not been sufficiently studied. To fill in the gap, scientists from Kyushu University observed 1566 residents of Hisayama village in Fukuoka Prefecture for five years, whose age was 60 years or more. The condition of the participants was monitored by a team of angiosurgeons, psychiatrists and dentists daily during a face-to-face examination or telephone interviews. The analysis showed that 347 people at the time of the study suffered from dementia, by the end of the observations 108 volunteers had died.
The results showed that the risk of dementia is negatively correlated with the number of healthy teeth. So, participants who had from one to nine, from ten to 19 teeth or had no teeth, the probability of cognitive impairment was 81, 62 or 63 percent higher than those who had 20 teeth or more, respectively. At the same time, there were no statistically significant differences between the number of teeth and subtypes of the disease (vascular dementia, Alzheimer's disease).
According to the authors, the data obtained indicate the importance of dental care and their timely treatment during life. Despite the fact that the work does not allow us to talk about cause-and-effect relationships, oral health can probably influence the risk of cognitive impairment in old age. Scientists intend to clarify the mechanism of such influence in future studies.
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