What’s the big deal with losing a tooth? Yes, it might bring about some inconveniences and make it more difficult for you to swallow your food, but other than that, what else can tooth loss bring? If you’re one of the numerous individuals with this kind of mentality, then you’re in for the shock. While dental conditions rarely led to debilitating or even fatal consequences, studies are emerging that link tooth loss with lesser cognitive abilities. Although the link might be subtle, it’s still something which prompts individuals to be vigilant when it comes to their dental health.

Tooth loss and diminishing cognitive abilities?

dentist edmond okResearchers tried to compile the records of male veterans who took part of a VA study during the 60s and the 70s and took a look at the results of their cognitive tests as well as their medical and dental exams. By correlating the results of the different exams, they were able to find out that each tooth lost per decade led to the deterioration of their test results by 8 to 10 percent. In general, individuals who had all of their natural teeth did better than those who had experienced tooth loss. At the same time, individuals with cavities also had poor results.

And the culprit is…

Some researchers suggested that the inflammation which is caused when one undergoes a periodontal disease could have something to do with the results of the study. When one suffers from periodontal or gum disease, inflammatory proteins are introduced into his or her bloodstream which could affect the sufferer’s systemic health. This could give rise to the development of diseases which affects one’s cognitive abilities such as Alzheimer’s disease. Although the evidence linking gum diseases to Alzheimer’s disease is still circumstantial, it’s still a compelling reason for individuals to take better care of their gums.

How do you keep your gums healthy?

On top of brushing your teeth twice a day, dentists are urging their patients to floss at least once a day and to rinse with mouthwash. Flossing gets rid of plaque which may be stuck in between teeth and can solidify into tartar if not removed promptly. Tartar is toxic to gums and can easily cause inflammation, which could trigger a full-blown gum disease. Some mouth rinse products prevent the conversion of plaque into tartar, and are suitable for individuals who have been identified to have high risk for plaque and tartar formations.

Dr. Michael Chandler provides Restorative Dentistry in Edmond OK

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