An increased risk of dementia
Your smile says a lot about you… and your cognitive health. This is confirmed by a new study published last Wednesday in the journal Neurology. After extensive research on the link between oral health and dementia risks, researchers at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, in the United States, have shown that people with the form of periodontitis the most severe were more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment or even dementia a few years later.
Periodontitis, a pathology that cannot be cured
In order to study the link between periodontal bacteria and neurodegenerative diseases, the team of scientists followed the medical records of nearly 8,000 people for almost eighteen years. During their research, 19% of participants with periodontitis developed more or less severe dementia. Among them, a quarter had already suffered a loosening of one or more teeth.
In patients who developed a mild form of periodontal disease, the risk of dementia was slightly lower (18%). Among people with good oral health, only 14% of people have dementia. Obviously, the work took into account other risk factors such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or even smoking.
The causal links between poor oral health and brain disease, however, have not been demonstrated. “We haven’t proven causation. But if it is causal, the impact on the population could be significant. Half of the population has periodontal disease severe enough to put them at higher risk “, said lead author of the study, Ryan T. Demmer, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota.