Tooth loss associated with increased cognitive impairment, dementia

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Tooth loss is a risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia, and with each tooth lost, the risk of cognitive impairment increases, according to a new analysis led by researchers at Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University and published a JAMDA: The Journal of Post-Agute and Long-Term Care Medicine. However, this risk was not significant among older adults with dental prostheses, suggesting that timely treatment with dental prostheses may protect against cognitive impairment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in six adults age 65 and older has lost all teeth. Previous studies show a connection between and decreased cognitive function, with researchers offering a number of possible explanations for this link. On the one hand, lack of teeth can cause difficulty chewing, which can contribute to nutritional deficiencies or promote changes in the brain. A growing body of research also points to a connection between gum disease (one of the leading causes of tooth loss) and . In addition, tooth loss can reflect lifelong socioeconomic disadvantages for cognitive decline.

“Given the staggering number of people diagnosed each year with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and the opportunity to improve oral health throughout life, it’s important to better understand the connection between poor oral health and cognitive impairment,” he said. said Bei Wu, Ph.D., professor dean in global health at Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University and co-director of the NYU Aging Incubator, in addition to the study’s lead author.

Wu and colleagues performed a meta-analysis using longitudinal tooth loss studies and . The 14 studies included in its analysis included a total of 34,074 adults and 4,689 cases of people with impaired cognitive function.

The researchers found that adults with more tooth loss had a 1.48-fold higher risk of developing cognitive impairment and a 1.28-fold higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia, even after controlling for other factors.

However, adults who lacked teeth were more likely to have cognitive impairment if they did not have dental prostheses (23.8%) compared with those with dental prostheses (16.9%); further analysis revealed that the association between tooth loss and cognitive impairment was not significant when participants had dentures.

The researchers also conducted an analysis using a subset of eight studies to determine if there was a “dose-response” association between tooth loss and cognitive impairment, that is, whether a greater number of missing teeth were related to increased cognitive risk decline. Their results confirmed this relationship: each additional missing tooth was associated with a 1.4% increased risk of cognitive impairment and a 1.1% increased risk of being diagnosed with dementia.

“This“ dose-response ”relationship between the number of missing teeth and the risk of decreased cognitive function substantially strengthens the evidence linking tooth loss to cognitive impairment and provides some evidence that tooth loss can predict cognitive impairment, ”said Xiang Qi, a PhD candidate at NYU Meyers.

“Our findings underscore the importance of maintaining good and their role in helping to preserve cognitive function, ”Wu said.


Does cognitive function affect oral health during aging?


More information:
Xiang Qi et al, Dose-response meta-analysis on tooth loss with risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, Journal of the American Association of Medical Directors (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.jamda.2021.05.009

Citation: Tooth loss associated with increased cognitive impairment, dementia (2021, July 8) recovered on July 8, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-tooth-loss-cognitive-impairment- dementia.html

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