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Oral Health's Link to Dementia Risk

Oral Health's Link to Dementia RiskGood dental health may be linked with a decreased risk of dementia, according to a recent study that was performed at the University of California. The study included more than 5,000 elderly patients over 18 years. Daily brushers were less likely to develop dementia than patients who brushed less than once a day.

Patients were between 52 and 105 years at the beginning of the study. Most participants were Caucasian with higher levels of education and income. The patients, who had no cognitive declines at the study’s outset, were asked detailed information about their dental care routines, their teeth and, if they wore them, dentures. The follow-up examined medical records, interviews and death certificates to identify the more than 1,100 patients who had been diagnosed with dementia.

Researchers noted that poor oral health habits may trigger inflammation, which is associated with stroke, heart disease and diabetes. The bacteria that cause gum disease are also more prolific in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and may trigger inflammation and damage in the brain. Dementia can also cause deteriorating dental health habits. Dementia patients may fail to maintain good dental hygiene or may eat a less healthy diet.

The study concluded that those with poor dental hygiene habits were 65 percent more likely to experience dementia than daily brushers and flossers. Although there is no evidence that poor dental hygiene causes dementia, the study provides us with further information about the importance of good dental care for all patients, including the elderly. Contact our dentist in Northridge today to schedule your next appointment.

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