What Poor Oral Health May Tell about You

What Poor Oral Health May Tell about You

You might think that bad teeth are only a problem if they hurt or if they show when you smile, but poor oral health may also point to problems with brain function. According to researchers, study participants with bad oral health performed worse on tests of cognitive function. More about this connection is below.

Tooth Loss and Cognitive Function

Cognitive functioning was found to be poorer with more teeth lost or extracted. Furthermore, researchers found worse cognitive function in people who had advanced periodontitis, or severe gum disease. Cognitive tests that were given to people with varying levels of tooth loss measured skill in words and numbers. In people with better oral health, test scores were higher.

Exploring the Connection

Researchers do not yet know whether poor oral health led to poor cognitive function or if the reverse is true. For example, poor cognitive function could lead to a lack of oral hygiene, which would raise risks of oral health problems and tooth loss. On the other hand, tooth loss could lead to a limited diet, depriving the brain of key nutrients. Finally, some undiscovered factor may be responsible for worsening oral health and cognitive function at the same time.

Future studies may clarify the relationship between oral health and brain function. In the meantime, patients can benefit their body and mind by taking good care of their teeth and gums. Patients can contact our dentist to schedule a dental exam and discuss the best preventive dental options for preserving oral health.