Oral Health and Cognitive Decline

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Close-up of patient’s open mouth before oral checkup with mirror near by

Poor oral health has a positive correlation with dementia and cognitive decline later in life, a new study by researchers at Duke University’s School of Nursing in Durham, NC postulates. The study analyzed data recorded from 1993 to 2013. Its results suggest that certain measures of oral health, including number of teeth, number of cavities, and the presence of gum or periodontal disease, can reflect one’s risk of dementia or cognitive decline. While evidence is insufficient to declare a causative relationship, researchers point out that the rate of oral health issues increases significantly in older people with cognitive impairment, especially those with dementia. Data collection from a larger and more representative population sample is suggested for future studies, to see if inflammation or another oral health issue is involved in the correlation.


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