Reno Dentists See Possible Connection Between Chewing and Dementia
Posted October 16, 2012 by Wager-Evans Dental
Many people are living into their100s these days. In spite of impressive technological and medical advances, certain parts of our body will gradually decline as we age. Linking our oral health to our overall well-being is called oral-systemic health. Multiple research studies have highlighted a connection between tooth retention and cognitive function. Researchers from Bayor College of Medicine studied gum chewing in college students, for example. Standardized math scores were higher in those that chewed gum on a regular basis. Your Reno dentists, Dr. William Wager and Dr. Brian Evans, explain a recent Swedish study that focuses solely on chewing as a means for lower rates of dementia in the elderly.
Swedish Study Focuses on Chewing and Dementia Link
The Department of Odontology and the Aging Research Center at the Karolinska Institutet uncovered details on how the action of chewing creates blood flow to the brain. The Swedish researchers examined data on 557 elderly people who were all over the age of 77. Significantly higher rates of dementia were seen in participants who had issues chewing hard food because of tooth loss. People who have lost some, or all, of their teeth are simply going to do less chewing. They are likely to eat a diet of softer foods, or possibly stick to a primarily liquid diet. This means less blood flow to the brain. Diminished chewing equals diminished blood flow which is likely to translate into a more expedient descent into dementia for an aging patient
More research is necessary before the link between chewing and dementia will be definitively proven. The study is compelling enough, however, to reiterate the importance of maintaining your teeth. In cases of tooth loss, restorative procedures, such as dental implants, can keep you chewing away, no matter how old you are. At Wager Evans Dental, we offer preventive and restorative dentistry to help you keep the teeth you have, and restore the one’s you’ve lost. To schedule an appointment, contact our Reno dentist office at 775-829-7700. We are proud to serve patients in the 89502 zip code, and surrounding communities.