Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dementia Linked to Gum Disease

Prevent Dementia by Visiting Your Dentist


If you can’t remember to brush your teeth that may not the only memory to go as gum disease is linked to preventing dementia. A new study in the U.S. was just released that observes this phenomenon.

Researchers studied nearly 5,500 elderly people in a retirement home in California for over 18 years (1992 -2010).  Most participants were Caucasian, educated, and ranged from 52 years of age to 105 years of age. They found that those who brushed their teeth less than once a day had a 65% higher chance in developing dementia than those who brushed every day. "Not only does the state of your mind predict what kind of oral health habits you practice, it may be that your oral health habits influence whether or not you get dementia," said Annlia Paganini-Hill, leader of the study.

The participants were interviewed at the start with a number of questions regarding their dental health, including brushing, flossing, number of visits to their dentist, and if they use dentures.  At this time, no one in the group suffered from dementia.  A follow – up interview was then done 18 years later when 1,145 of those people were diagnosed with dementia, determine from the interviews, medical records, or even death certificates in some cases. 

In more detail, there was a difference in gender, as well.  Women had a 1 in 3.7 chance of developing the disease when brushing less than once daily while men had a 1 in 6 chance. This had more of a correlation to those who wore their dentures as those who did wear them had twice as higher chance to develop dementia than those who had most of their own teeth.  And on top of that, those who lost most of their natural teeth and did not wear their dentures had a 91% greater risk of dementia than those with their natural teeth.  Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman would strongly suggest coming in for a consultation for dental implants if you are concerned about the strength of your own teeth.

Now, one may ask, what comes first, the chicken or the egg? It is common to think those with the onset of dementia will begin to decrease their dental maintenance, meaning that dementia is responsible for poor self-care.  However, gum disease has a common negative influence as bacteria from gingivitis are associated with heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  This is enough proof to not take any chances.  Periodontal Associates would suggest you continue to upkeep bi-annual cleanings at a minimum unless otherwise stated your doctor.
Paginini-Hill concludes, “In addition to helping maintain natural, healthy, functional teeth, oral health behaviors are associated with lower risk of dementia in older adults.”

It is scary to see how our dental habits are related with our future health, both mentally and physically.  There is still time to help prevent the onset of gum disease related illnesses by calling Periodontal Associates and meeting with Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, or Dr. Beckman.  We also have a great team of hygienists to keep those teeth and gums clean.  We have more information about the other gum related diseases on our website or continue to follow our blog for further updates.  If you live in the Denver metro area, specifically Aurora, CO, please just stop in today to get all of your questions answered or make an appointment here.

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