In a new study by the University of North Carolina’s dental ecology department, researchers found that middle-aged adults with poor dental health showed lower scores in memory and thinking tests, compared to those with more teeth and better gum health.
Researchers analyzed data that included cognitive skills tests and tooth and gum examinations of 6,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 64, U.S. News reports.
According to the findings published in The Journal of the American Dental Association,
- Cognitive function decreased for every extra tooth lost or removed
- People with no natural teeth had poorer cognitive function than those with teeth
- Scores on word recall, word fluency, and numbers skills went down by every measure among those with no teeth
- Having fewer teeth and serious gum bleeding coincided with worse scores.
While the link between oral and mental health has been established, it is not clear which condition develops first. Poor dental health may be contributing to a diet lacking in brain foods, or systemic inflammation could be responsible for effecting both the teeth and mind. Genetics could play a role, as well.
“The answer is murky,” researchers told U.S. News.
Read the full article here:
Could Poor Dental Health Signal a Faltering Mind?