Monday, April 04, 2016

Regular dental visits could slow down cognitive decline - research findings

Better oral hygiene and regular dental visits may play a role in slowing cognitive decline as people age, although evidence is not definitive enough to suggest that one causes the other, according to American research.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, come from the first systematic review of studies focused on oral health and cognition - two important areas of research as the older adult population continues to grow, with some 36% of Americans over 70 already living with cognitive impairments.

Researchers have questioned whether an association exists between oral health and cognitive status for older adults.

"Clinical evidence suggests that the frequency of oral health problems increases significantly in cognitively impaired older people, particularly those with dementia," Bei Wu, PhD, of Duke University's School of Nursing in Durham, North Carolina, said. "In addition, many of the factors associated with poor oral health - such as poor nutrition and systemic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease--are also associated with poor cognitive function."