Did you know that your dental health and hygiene is related to your brain health? It may sound strange, but research has found that people with poor dental health suffer from higher rates of memory loss than people who brush their teeth regularly. And scientists in Europe found that losing adult teeth is correlated with a loss in certain types of memories.
While the connection between tooth decay and memory loss is still not completely understood, some scientists believe that periodontal bacteria may lead to increased inflammation in the body and brain—which could affect brain areas related to memory. One large study found that Alzheimer’s disease and gum disease are correlated, and that treating gum disease may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s onset.
I don’t know about you, but these studies definitely make me want to brush, floss, and visit the dentist a bit more often!
- Paganini-Hill, A, White, SC, Atchison, KA. (2012.) Dentition, dental health habits, and dementia: the Leisure World Cohort Study. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, Aug;60(8): 1556-63.
- Hansson, P, et. al. (2013.) Relationship between natural teeth and memory in a healthy elderly population. European Journal of Oral Sciences, Aug;121(4): 333-40.
- Ide, M, et. al. (2016.) Periodontitis and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. PLoS ONE, 11(3): e0151081.