Bad dental health can lead to all sorts of problems, that’s no longer breaking news. But a new study shows a more horrific side-effect: poor dental health is linked to an increased risk of dementia.
There’s hardly a cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, so you might want to think about that if you’ve been putting off a visit to the dentist. And since there’s no treatment, prevention is the best solution. New research identified poor dental health as a factor in the development of dementia.
Researchers at the University of California published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society a study that shows seniors with poor dental health are more likely to develop dementia. 5500 elders over a period of 18 years were investigated by the team.
The results: seniors not brushing their teeth daily were up to 65 percent more likely to develop dementia later on. Elder women seem to be more affected, one in every 3.7 women with a poor dental health level eventually developing dementia.
“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,” said for Reuters Annlia Paganini-Hill, the leader of the study.
The medical reason of this link is not yet fully understood. Still, it has to do with some bacteria that attacks gums and teeth. “It’s thought that gum disease bacteria might get into the brain, causing inflammation and brain damage”, stated Paganini-Hill.
Experts estimate that one in three people over the age of 65 will die with a form of dementia. Considering that the number did not decrease in recent years, it has become a world-wide health issue and scientists are only beginning to understand more about what triggers dementia.
“A picture is building up to suggest that dementia is linked to weight in mid-life” stated Jessica Smith, a research officer for the Alzheimer’s Society for The Independent. “The whole idea that dementia happens later in life is changing”, said Professor Archana Singh-Manoux.