How does tooth loss affect the risk of developing dementia?
Tooth loss appears to play an important role in the development of cognitive impairment and dementia. The risk of cognitive decline appears to increase with each tooth loss. How serious are these risks and can timely dental treatment protect against cognitive decline?
A research group involving researchers from New York University examined how tooth loss affects the risk of dementia and general decline in cognitive abilities. The results of the analysis can be found in the English language journal “The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine” (rigid) can be read.
The relationship between tooth loss and cognition
Experts report that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, one in six adults aged 65 or older has already lost all of his teeth. The results of the previous study also demonstrated an association between tooth loss and decreased cognitive function, with a number of possible explanations for this association.
Why does tooth loss worsen cognitive function?
Missing teeth make chewing difficult, which can contribute to nutritional deficiencies or encourage changes in the brain. A growing body of research also suggests a link between gum disease – the leading cause of tooth loss – and cognitive decline, the team said. In addition, tooth loss can reflect a lifelong socioeconomic disadvantage, which is also a risk factor for cognitive decline.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are on the rise
“With the staggering number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia each year and the opportunity to improve oral health over a lifetime, it is important to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between poor oral health and cognitive decline,” stresses study author Prof. Dr. With Wu from New York University.
The research group performed a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies of tooth loss and cognitive impairment. For this purpose, 14 studies involving a total of 34,074 adults were evaluated. Decreased cognitive function was found in 4,689 participants.
To what extent does tooth loss increase the risk of dementia?
In their investigation, experts found that adults with tooth loss were 1.48 times more likely to develop cognitive impairment and 1.28 times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia. This increased risk persisted even when other potential factors were taken into account.
Dentures protect against cognitive impairment
The team noted that adults with tooth loss were more likely to develop cognitive impairment if they did not have dentures (23.8%) compared to people who did have dentures (16.9%). Additional analysis finally showed that the relationship between tooth loss and cognitive impairment was not significant if participants had dentures, according to the expert report.
The researchers also performed another analysis with a subset of eight studies. The aim was to determine whether there is a dose-response relationship between tooth loss and cognitive impairment. In other words, is a greater number of missing teeth associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline?
More missing teeth increased risk
In fact, the results confirmed such an association. Experts reported that each extra tooth missing was associated with a 1.4 percent increased risk of cognitive impairment and a 1.1 percent increased risk of dementia.
Tooth loss can predict cognitive decline
“This dose-response relationship between the number of missing teeth and the risk of reduced cognitive function significantly reinforces the evidence linking tooth loss to cognitive impairment and provides some evidence that tooth loss can predict cognitive decline,” explains study author Xiang Qi from New York. one university press release.
Study author Professor Dr. Wu added. (Such as)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of the specialized medical literature, clinical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.
- Xiang Qi, Zheng Zhu, Brenda L. Plassman, Bai Wu: A dose-response meta-analysis on tooth loss with risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, in Journal of Acute and Long-Term Aftercare Medicine (veröffentlicht 08.07.2021), rigid
- New York University: Tooth loss associated with increased cognitive impairment and dementia (veröffentlicht 08.07.2021), New york university
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.