Good Oral Health Habits May Cut Risk of Developing Dementia

Practicing good oral health habits could possibly reduce a person’s risk of dementia in later years, according to a University of California study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The study, conducted over the course of 18 years, followed 5,468 adults with no previous diagnosis of dementia and a median age of 81. Researchers determined that participants who reported brushing their teeth less than once per day had up to a 65 percent greater risk of developing dementia than those who brushed three times daily.

Results indicated that men who had impaired ability to chew and who did not wear dentures had a 91 percent greater risk of dementia than those who had a certain number of their own teeth remaining and who could chew. Women had a less significant similar risk.

The study, led by researcher Annlia Paganini-Hill, focused on residents of Leisure World, a Laguna Hills, Calif., retirement community, and measured their oral health habits between 1992 and 2010. They were questioned about their number of natural teeth, dentures, number of dental visits and oral health habits.

Researcher assessed dementia status based on in-person evaluations, hospital records, questionnaires and death certificates.

The ADA has information resources on oral health care according to a person’s age on its consumer information website MouthHealthy.org.

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