Oral Health and Brain Health
Your oral health has a profound impact on your general health. Each year, medical researchers find more links between poor oral health and serious general health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung infections, and even certain types of blood cancers. A recent study in the Journal of American Geriatrics has found an additional link between oral and general health.
According to the study, patients who have problems chewing may be at a greater risk for dementia. The researchers asked 557 patients detailed questions about their dental health, and then asked them to chew various items. Patients then responded to questions about how easy or difficult the items were to chew. The results of the study found that, no matter what the state of the patient’s oral health was, patients who reported having problems chewing also scored the lowest on cognitive functioning tests. In fact patients who had problems chewing were more than twice more likely to show signs of cognitive impairment than patients who reported no difficulties.
This study is not definitive. If you have problems chewing, you are not necessarily doomed to dementia. For one thing, the researchers are not sure which problem occurred first, the dementia or the problems with chewing. In other words, having cognitive impairment may affect the patient’s ability to chew rather than problems with chewing leading to cognitive impairment. More research is needed to determine a causal link.
If you have problems chewing, or if you suffer from cognitive impairment and you are worried about your oral health, contact Dr. Frame. Dr. Frame is a Santa Clara dentist with years of experience with helping patients with their general and cosmetic dental problems.
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