Study Finds Tooth Loss Boosts Cognitive Impairment

People who have lost multiple teeth and those who have a difficult time chewing hard food had significantly higher odds of cognitive impairment, according to a new study.

It didn’t matter the sex, age, education level or depression or mental illness status—if the people in the study had a difficult time chewing, they had higher odds of cognitive impairment. The research is detailed in the article “Chewing Ability and Tooth Loss: Association with Cognitive Impairment in an Elderly Population Study” in the October 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The researchers analyzed data from the Panel Study of Living Conditions of the Oldest Old in 2002. The participants were 557 people over the age of 77 in Sweden.

To prevent tooth loss and maintain healthy teeth, the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of the brush should fit your mouth, allowing you to reach all areas easily.

The ADA also recommends replacing your toothbrush every three or four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Also, make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.

Flossing is also an essential part of any oral health care routine. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to achieve optimal oral health.

By flossing daily, you help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where the toothbrush can't reach. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Flossing also helps prevent gum disease and cavities.

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