The longer you’re alive, the more chance you have to lose a tooth. Through the years you’ll also run the risk of memory loss. But now researchers are saying there might be a connection between the two. According to new research published online by the European Journal of Oral Sciences, losing your teeth can damage your memory.
One contributing factor is theorized to be sensory impulses created by the movement of the jaw and teeth which are fed to the area of the brain that forms and retrieves memories, the hippocampus. People without their own teeth produce fewer signals to be sent to the hippocampus.
Another issue could be dietary. Essentially, this could be because people who are missing teeth may avoid certain foods and may be deprived of vital nutrients.
The research involved 273 participants, age 55-80 and was carried out by universities in Norway and Sweden. The average number of natural teeth each participant had was 22, 10 fewer than the full dentition. More than 70% of all missing teeth were molars.
The authors of the study explain, “In line with the stated hypothesis, the number of natural teeth was positively associated with performance on episodic memory, recall as well as recognition. Alone, number of natural teeth could account for 20% of the variance in episodic recall, 15% of the variance in episodic recognition, and 14% of the variance in semantic memory.”
In effect, the study showed that there was in fact a statistical link between tooth loss and memory loss. The study also showed that people with implants or dentures scored higher in the testing than people who just had missing teeth.
If you’re in need of a tooth replacement call Austin cosmetic dentist, Dr. Dan Matthews today to find out what treatment is best for you.