Tooth loss can occur for many reasons including facial trauma, advanced decay, or gum disease. For most patients, the condition takes a toll on their self-confidence and the quality of their smile. However, according to new research, tooth loss can also be linked to cognitive impairment. The oral surgeons at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska in Anchorage want to share these important findings and convey the importance of proper dental care.
How Tooth Loss Affects Cognitive Ability
Neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease affect many people as they age. Coincidentally, tooth loss is another health issue that commonly occurs as people get older. According to findings of a recent study, the latter may increase the advancement of the former.
The study, titled “Chewing Ability and Tooth Loss: Association with Cognitive Impairment in an Elderly Population Study,” was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Researchers discovered that patients with tooth loss or difficulty chewing showed signs of increased cognitive impairment.
The team analyzed data points from the Panel Study of Living Conditions in the Oldest Old, a study of 557 Swedish people aged 77 or older, to uncover potential consequences of oral health problems like tooth loss. According to their findings, patients with fewer than 20 teeth were at a 20 percent higher risk of developing serious cognitive conditions. The likelihood of cognitive decline continues to increase as more teeth are lost.
How to Prevent Tooth Loss
Researchers plan to continue investigating the between oral health and cognitive function. In the meantime, the most effective known ways to prevent tooth loss include regular brushing and flossing; routine visits to the dentist; and maintaining a healthy diet.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and many people are susceptible to it when they fail to visit a dentist or oral surgeon for routine care or intensive treatment. By practicing good oral hygiene and addressing serious problems as soon as they occur, you can prevent tooth loss and decrease the likelihood of developing a cognitive impairment as well.
If you’re interested in learning more about oral care or oral surgery, turn to the team at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska. These experienced oral surgeons offer comprehensive cosmetic dental care solutions and are dedicated to helping patients maintain healthy smiles. Call (907) 561-1430 to schedule a consultation with their oral surgeons, and visit their website and Facebook page to learn more about their services.