Scientists have found that tooth loss increases the risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia, suggesting oral health strategies to preserve teeth may help fight such disorders. Researchers, including those from McGill University and Queen’s University in Canada, systematically assessed the association between oral health and cognitive functions in adult populations.
The objective of the study was to systematically examine if tooth loss leads to cognitive impairment and its most prevalent pathologic correlate - dementia.
Eligible study reports were identified by searching various databases. From 1,251 identified articles, 10 were included in the systematic review and eight in the meta-analysis.
Researchers found that individuals with less than 20 teeth were at a 20 per cent higher risk for developing cognitive decline and dementia than those with greater than or equal to 20 teeth.
This information suggests that oral health strategies aimed to preserve teeth may be important in reducing risk of systemic disease, researchers said.
The increase in cases of cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in ageing populations is progressing worldwide and creating a significant burden on health systems, researchers said.
Better insight into the nature and extent of the association between oral health and cognitive function is of great importance since it could lead to preventive interventions for cognitive performance, they said. The study was published in the JDR Clinical and Translational Research.