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Tooth loss may predict the development of dementia late in life, according to research published in the October issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.
Numerous past studies have shown that patients with dementia are more likely than patients without the condition to have poor oral health. Maybe poor oral health actually may contribute to the development of dementia.
The researchers used dental records and results of annual cognitive examinations to study participants who were 75 to 98 years old.
"Seniors, with few teeth (zero to nine) had an increased risk of developing dementia during the study. Research subjects with had 10 or more teeth were less likely to suffer from dementia.
The possible association between tooth loss and dementia could be the result of:
- periodontal disease
- early-life nutritional deficiencies
- or chronic diseases that may result simultaneously in tooth loss
and damage to the brain.