A 2016 study done by researchers at the Henry M. Goldman School of Dentistry at Boston University (USA) informs that tooth loss increases the risk of not only physical, but also cognitive deterioration in older people.
There is evidence that periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and kidney diseases or some types of cancer such as breast or pancreas. In addition, periodontitis also accelerates the progression of Alzheimer’s in patients diagnosed with this neurological disease.
Now, a new study by researchers from the Henry M. Goldman School of Dentistry at Boston University (USA) warns that the loss of teeth increases the risk of not only physical but also cognitive deterioration in elderly people.
According to this research, the risk of cognitive decline in older people increases when teeth are lost. And in this context, both periodontitis and cavities, which represent a major cause for tooth loss, are also associated with cognitive decline.
The study, which has evaluated the dental histories and cognitive test results of more than 60,000 adults over 65, concludes that the risk of obtaining poor results in cognition tests increases from 8 to 10% for every tooth lost per decade.
This negative effect of tooth loss on cognitive function is due, according to this study, to the inflammatory mechanisms that accompany periodontitis and cavities. Elevation of inflammatory markers is a typical feature of Alzheimer’s disease. This happens because periodontitis and cavities are infectious diseases that shed inflammatory proteins in the blood.
The study concludes, in short, that good oral health is key for the elderly to maintain good health not only physical, but also cognitive.
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