Bad Dental Health Linked to a Greater Risk of Dementia

Woman Dental Exam

Tooth loss alone was linked to a 13% higher risk of dementia.

New research indicates tooth loss and poor periodontal health could raise the risk of both cognitive decline and dementia.

According to a review of all relevant studies in the medical literature, having poor periodontal health and losing teeth may raise your chance of developing dementia and cognitive decline.

47 studies were included in the analysis, which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. A 23% greater likelihood of cognitive decline and a 21% higher risk of dementia was linked to poor periodontal health (indicated by periodontitis, tooth loss, deep periodontal pockets, or alveolar bone loss). Tooth loss alone was associated with a 23% increased risk of cognitive deterioration and a 13% increased chance of dementia. However, the overall quality of evidence was low.

“From a clinical perspective, our findings emphasize the importance of monitoring and management of periodontal health in the context of dementia prevention, although the available evidence is not yet sufficient to point out clear ways for early identification of at-risk individuals, and the most efficient measures to prevent cognitive deterioration,” the authors wrote.

Reference: “Periodontal health, cognitive decline, and dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies” by Sam Asher, MPH, Ruth Stephen, Ph.D., Päivi Mäntylä, Ph.D., Anna Liisa Suominen, Ph.D. and Alina Solomon, Ph.D., 8 September 2022, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
DOI: 10.1111/jgs.17978


View Comments

  • What is the mechanism for periodontal disease causing dementia?

    It seems more reasonable to me that periodontal disease is a warning that dementia is already present and it results in neglect of dental hygiene.

    It appears that even otherwise well-educated people have difficulty realizing that correlation doesn't establish cause and effect.

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