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Linking dental health to brain ageing

Jul 8, 2023

Exploring the intriguing link between dental health and hippocampal atrophy, this study reveals that in older adults, fewer teeth correlate with faster left hippocampal atrophy in mild periodontitis cases, while more teeth correlate with faster atrophy in severe periodontitis cases, highlighting the pivotal role of dental health in brain health.

 

Key takeaways: Associations of Dental Health With the Progression of Hippocampal Atrophy in Community-Dwelling Individuals

 

  • Dental health and brain health connection: Dental health, especially the number of teeth one has and the severity of gum disease (periodontitis), has a significant impact on brain health. The health of our teeth and gums can influence the rate at which the hippocampus, a vital region of the brain involved in memory and learning, deteriorates over time
  • Impact of tooth count and gum disease severity: In older adults, having fewer teeth combined with mild gum disease accelerates the rate of left hippocampal atrophy. On the other hand, in individuals with severe gum disease, possessing more teeth correlates with a faster decline in the hippocampus. This suggests a complex relationship between dental health and brain health, where both tooth count and gum disease severity play pivotal roles
  • Importance of dental health for longevity: As we age, maintaining optimal dental health becomes even more crucial. Preventing tooth loss and effectively managing gum disease not only ensures a healthy mouth but also plays a role in safeguarding our brain health. This could potentially delay or mitigate cognitive decline, emphasising the intertwined nature of oral health and overall well-being in the context of longevity and ageing

 

Reference: Yamaguchi, Satoshi, et al. “Associations of Dental Health With the Progression of Hippocampal Atrophy in Community-Dwelling Individuals.” Neurology, vol. 101, no. 10, 2023, https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000207579