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Can Good Dental Care Decrease Your Risk of Dementia?

July 7, 2017 7:27 pm Published by

It seems at times the letter D gets a bad rep: DENTIST, DISEASE and DEMENTIA.


What’s equally DISTURBING is a recent study which found a correlation between dementia and dental care. Interestingly, it has to do with the number of teeth in your mouth.


The increase in the incidence of dementia  is a huge public concern.


Approximately 45 million people worldwide have dementia with 9.9 million new cases each year. And five million people have been diagnosed in the US. When you do the math, one out of every eight Americans over the age of 65 will be diagnosed with dementia.


The causes of dementia, particularly Alzheimer Disease is unclear.

So studies have been  underway to identify factors that have the potential to decrease the risk of dementia.


This particular study was not the first looking to establish the association of tooth loss with cognitive impairment.


But the results were DECISIVELY interesting.


There was an inverse association between the number of remaining teeth and and risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, indicating that individuals with greater tooth loss were at a greater risk of dementia.


What could account for this association:


  • First, chronic systemic inflammation which is linked to periodontal disease and is a major cause of tooth loss in adults, could contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease



  • Second, dietary changes resulting from tooth loss have been known to play a role in dementia risk. It was hypothesized that the decrease in your ability to chew due to tooth loss could lead to poor nutritional status, which might in turn affect dementia risk.



  • Third, it has been suggested that chewing increases cerebral blood flow, activation of the cortical area, and blood oxygen levels. So the loss of chewing ability resulting from tooth loss, might negatively affect brain function, which may result in development of dementia.



While this information may sound DAUNTING, there is an important take away message.


Good oral healthcare can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Isn’t that enough of a reason to schedule a visit with your dental health care professional?


Especially if his name is DAVID. Proof that lot’s of good things in life begin with the letter D.


To learn more about how we can help you prevent and treat gum disease, please contact Periodontist Dr. David Genet at 305-933-8700. To learn more about his practice, visit his website  http://www.drgenet.com.


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This post was written by David G. Genet, DMD

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