Oral ill health raises dementia risk

Posted in Dentist Cape Town / Oral Hygiene



Oral ill health raises dementia risk

Remember your mother propagating the habit of brushing your teeth twice a day. The habit surely promised healthy teeth and gums. But now researchers have found that indulging in the habit may also give you a healthy brain.

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According to the findings of a new study, people who brush their teeth regularly, keeping teeth and gums healthy, run a lower risk of developing dementia later in life.

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The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers at the University of California followed 5,500 Californian residents with an average age of 81 years.

All participants were free of dementia at the outset of the study. The participants were tracked for 18 years.
Participants were required to fill in questionnaires detailing their dental health habits, the condition of their teeth and whether or not they wore dentures. The persons were regularly interviewed to check for diagnoses of dementia.

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In 1992, 78 women reportedly admitted brushing their teeth less than once a day. 21 of those went on the develop dementia by 2010, researchers revealed. On the contrary, one in every 4.5 women who brushed their teeth at least once a day went on to developed dementia during the same time period. The risk translated into 65 percent greater odds of dementia among those who brushed less than once a day.

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Among men, one in six irregular brushers went on to develop dementia during the study span. For them not brushing regularly made them 22 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed daily.

Oral ill health raises dementia risk - Image 1

"Not only does the state of your mind predict what kind of oral health habits you practice, it may be that your oral health habits influence whether or not you get dementia," study's lead researcher, Annlia Paganini-Hill, said.

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While the researchers are still unclear about the cause of the association between the two, they speculate that gum disease bacteria might get into the brain causing inflammation and brain damage. Inflammation caused by bacteria related to gum disease is also known to spur the risk of conditions including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

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The findings of the study are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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