A post in the Economic Times recently reported on a new study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that links tooth loss to memory loss. Specifically, older adults without teeth experience a faster decline in their memory than those who still have their natural teeth. Here’s what your dental professional discovered.
Connection between Tooth Loss and Memory
The connection, the study suggests, may relate to lifestyle and psychosocial changes, especially in adults between the ages of 60 and 74. Most notably, the study linked tooth loss to mental and physical decline based on socioeconomic status.
The study involved over 3,000 adults age 60 and older. Researchers compared participants’ memory and walking speeds. The results showed those who had lost all their natural teeth performed worse on memory and walking speed tests. In fact, they performed about 10 percent worse than people with their own teeth did. Interestingly enough, adults age 60 to 74 were more greatly affected than those 75 years or older.
This is not the first time dental professionals have linked tooth loss to memory. There have been previous links between tooth loss and dementia in the elderly.
Protect Yourself from Tooth Loss and Memory Loss
The best way to prevent tooth loss is through good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time, floss at least once daily, and see your dental professional on a regular basis.
Additionally, maintain a healthy diet that is high in vitamins and nutrients, and low in sugars and carbohydrates. In particular, calcium and vitamin D have shown to decrease bone loss. This may include your jawbone.
Finally, if you smoke, stop now. You’ll not only reduce your odds of tooth loss, you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
When it comes to memory loss, experts offer four tips, including two that link to good dental health. Along with eating a well-balanced diet and getting the proper vitamins (C, E, B6, and B12), to hold off memory loss be sure to get regular physical and mental exercise.
Keep in mind that your teeth probably do more than you realize. Along with providing a pleasant smile, they allow you to chew your food, they enable you to speak, and they maintain your facial structure. They may even signal to your dental professional that you have a serious health problem.
Whatever the condition of your current oral care, prevent further damage to your teeth and gums by ensuring you take the proper steps to good dental hygiene. Talk to your dental professional if you have any questions.