Tooth Loss and Memory Loss

People have long known of the link between aging and tooth loss, but researchers have now discovered that tooth loss can cause loss of memory. When a person chews, the movement of teeth stimulates the brain's hippocampus region, which is involved in memory. Tooth loss means that fewer of these signals are sent.

More Teeth, Better Memory

Scientists found that elderly individuals who had more of their own teeth had 4 percent better memory compared to those with greater tooth loss. The study, which looked at 273 people between ages 55 and 80, found that molars comprised most of the missing teeth. This highlights the importance of visiting our dentist in Torrance regularly for preventive care.

Study Details

The number of natural teeth possessed by study participants accounted for 15 percent of differences in episodic recognition, 20 percent of episodic recall and 14 percent of semantic memory. Although dental implants can reduce the impact of tooth loss on memory, the brain signals from the teeth are still reduced. According to the researchers, one possible factor behind these differences is reduction of brain blood flow, which is stimulated by chewing. Another possibility is that patients with fewer teeth suffer malnutrition after avoiding foods that are harder to chew.

More Links Between Teeth and Memory

Last year, researchers found links between dementia and oral cleanliness. That study found that older adults who brushed less often were more likely to develop dementia. Other studies have found that patients with Alzheimer's disease had more bad oral bacteria, which can enter the brain and cause damage. To reduce these risks, patients should promptly visit our dentist in case of a dental emergency in Torrance.

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