A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and funded by the University of California suggests there may be a link to poor oral health and dementia.
They did not conclude that poor oral health directly caused dementia, but rather their study revealed that those with good oral health had a lowered incidence of dementia or Alzheimer’s. This suggests that frequent brushing and flossing reduces a person’s risk for developing dementia later in life.
18-year Study Reveals Affluence Doesn’t Hinder Alzheimer’s
Scientists tracked 5,500 elderly people within an 18 year span, from 1992 to 2010, and found that 65 percent of those who reported brushing their teeth less than once a day were more likely to develop signs of dementia than those who reported brushing daily. Most of the study’s participants were well educated and affluent, and ranged in age between 52 and 105 with the average age being 81, and none of them reported dementia at the start of the study. The participants answered questions about their oral hygiene habits and the condition of their teeth, and at the 18-year follow-up, the researchers used medical records, death certificates and interviews to establish that 1,145 participants had been diagnosed with dementia.
Women were more likely than Men to be diagnosed with Dementia
In the study it was determined that women are more likely to have be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men. Within the group that reported only brushing their teeth once a day or less, one in 3.7 women was diagnosed with dementia. Among the women who brushed daily, one in 4.5 women was found to have had dementia. Of the men who participated in the study, one in six reported brushing less than once a day. The men who reported neglecting their dental care were 22 percent more likely to develop the disease than those who brushed and flossed daily. It was also found, among the men, that those who did not wear dentures were more likely to have been diagnosed with dementia.
The study did not account for other factors that can have an impact such as head injuries, diet/malnutrition , or genetics, but it certainly does appear that neglecting your oral health may lead to an increased susceptibility to degenerative brain diseases. Call us at Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD at 248-356-8790 and find out how we can help keep your mouth healthy and perhaps your brain alert!
Until next time,
Dr. Mark W. Langberg, DDS, MAGD
26206 West 12 Mile Road, Suite 303
Southfield, MI 48034