Tooth Loss And Cognitive Issues

Last month’s Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month reminds us to point out the increasing research that links poor oral health to cognitive decline.

You Are What You Eat?

Results of a Japanese study of nearly 1,000 older adults suggests that tooth loss (edentulism) may contribute to issues with brain health, and that diminished enjoyment of food from tooth loss may reduce stimulation of memory-related brain regions. While definite causality couldn’t be established, the findings emphasize the importance of maintaining oral health and balanced diets to mitigate cognitive decline risks.

As Dr. Liji Thomas reports in News Medical, tooth loss was also associated with a negative impact on diet, with the consumption of plant-based foods (fruits and vegetables) often replaced by an increased intake of processed, fattier foods which also is thought to contribute to inflammation and vascular dysfunction, which can worsen cognitive decline. Tooth loss means impaired chewing function, which then leads to worsening appetite and diminished food enjoyment, with the nutritional deficit subsequently affecting brain function.

As Dr. Thomas concludes, “Proper management of oral health and consumption of a balanced diet could prevent neuropathological shifts associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Japanese study is certainly not the only one to point to the relationship between our oral and brain health. In 2021, the National Institute on Aging discussed a study that found that for every tooth lost there was an associated “1.4% increase in the risk of cognitive impairment and a 1.1% increase in the risk of dementia.” The study claimed that “participants who were missing 20 or more teeth had a 31% higher risk of cognitive impairment” and that “participants who had lost all their teeth had a 54% higher risk of cognitive impairment and a 40% higher risk of dementia.”

Dental Implants Make the Difference

Tooth loss was once considered just one more negative consequence of growing older. Today, we know that’s simply not true.

If you’re an older adult looking for one or two dental implants to replacing failing or missing teeth, or even a full-arch restoration with new replacement teeth, we are here to help! You can rely on South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry to help you achieve the look and function of natural teeth with dental implants. We’ll create an individualized treatment plan for you utilizing our clinical expertise along with today’s most advanced digital dental technology.

Learn more about dental implants by calling our office today to set up a consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve a more attractive and healthier smile! Referrals are always welcomed but are not required.