3 Ways Your Gums Could Be Affecting Your Memory

You’ve probably never thought about the impact your oral health has on your brain health, but here’s a reason to keep your dental appointments: gum disease can increase your risk of developing dementia, according to a new study.

In a review of 47 previously published studies, Finnish researchers found that tooth loss, deep pockets around the teeth in the gums, or bone loss in the tooth sockets were linked to a 21% higher risk of dementia and a 23% higher risk of milder disease. cognitive decline.

Tooth loss itself – an indicator of gum or periodontal disease – was linked to a 23% higher risk of cognitive (mental) decline and a 13% higher risk of dementia, according to the study.

“Maintaining adequate periodontal health, including maintaining healthy natural teeth, also appears to be important in the context of preventing cognitive decline and dementia,” says lead researcher Sam Asher, of the Institute of Medicine dentistry from the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio.

RELATED: Gum Disease 101: Why It Starts & How To Stop It

Asher notes that the study cannot prove that gum problems actually cause dementia. Still, preventing and treating periodontal disease is especially important in older adults who are at increased risk for dementia, he shares.

About 10% to 15% of the world’s adult population suffers from an inflammation of the gums known as periodontitis, the researchers pointed out in briefing notes. In severe cases, it leads to tooth loss, and previous research has linked it to heart disease and diabetes.

Dr Sam Gandy, director of the Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health in New York, says: “There is growing evidence that systemic inflammation and brain inflammation are linked in some way. »

Periodontal disease, systemic viral illnesses including herpes, COVID-19, and inflammatory bowel syndrome, among others, are capable of triggering brain inflammation, Gandy says.

“These associations do not necessarily imply direct invasion of the brain by microbes, but we still have relatively little understanding of the molecular basis of how systemic inflammation worsens brain inflammation,” he adds.

However, there is good news. Many of your oral health issues can be resolved before you begin to experience cognitive decline. Here’s how :

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