Good oral health counteracts the risk of dementia

An investigation carried out in the United States for 18 years confirmed that bad dental hygiene is one of the factors that could trigger diseases such as senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia). According to the study, which was conducted by the experts, people who do not brush their teeth daily are 65% more likely to develop mental illness.

Several studies have already confirmed that poor oral hygiene is directly associated with diseases such as diabetes, heart and vascular accidents, because the bacteria that cause gum disease (gingivitis) can lodge in other parts of the body and predispose to a large amount of disorders.

Specialist notes that although previous research had already revealed that people with Alzheimer’s have a higher concentration of germs from the mouth than a person without the disease, this study found that bacteria accumulated in the oral cavity due to poor hygiene can reach the brain and cause inflammation and significant damage.

Participating in the study were 5,468 older adults who lived in a retirement community in California, USA, who were followed for around 18 years. In the beginning, participants were between 52 and 105 years old (an average of 81 years old) and none had symptoms of dementia. Everyone answered about their dental health habits, the state of their teeth, and if they used dentures.

After a follow-up of almost two decades, the team found – through interviews, medical records and, in some cases, the death certificate – that 1,145 had been diagnosed with dementia. The study revealed that people whose hygiene was poor, that is, they did not brush their teeth every day, were 65% more likely to suffer from mental illness, when compared to participants who washed their teeth three times a day.

This research confirms what many had already proven through other scientific studies: oral hygiene not only helps to have a healthy mouth and an attractive smile but it also removes various diseases that can be fatal.