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Oral Health and Alzheimer’s

Oral Health and Alzheimer’sTooth loss is common among American adults and is often caused by gum disease, dental decay or accidents. Once a tooth is lost, eating and speaking can become more difficult, and people may feel more self-conscious about smiling or interacting. Unfortunately, tooth loss may have even more far-reaching effects, according to recent research.

A study that was published in “The Journal of the American Dental Association” in October 2007 found that those who lost teeth before 35 were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. This landmark study, often called the nun study, focused on the dental records of women between 75 and 98 from the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Women who had fewer than nine teeth were at the highest risk of experiencing dementia according to the study.

The study’s authors could not determine whether the tooth loss contributed to the development of the dementia or whether the dementia was related to the tooth loss. Poor dental health is commonly related to chronic disease, poor nutrition, poor dental hygiene and infection, all of which can lead to cognitive decline.

If someone you love is experiencing Alzheimer’s, our dentist in West Hollywood recommends providing assistance with dental hygiene. Gripping the toothbrush can become difficult, so an electric toothbrush can be helpful in the early days of the condition. Assistance may be necessary, eventually. You may also need to monitor dietary habits to ensure your loved one is eating a healthy, well-rounded diet. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a checkup.

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