Tooth Loss tied to Physical and Mental Health

February 22, 2015 — by Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky
Tags: Tooth Replacement Tooth Loss

TOOTH LOSS TIED TO PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

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Dent_006 Information on self-reported dental health from the STABILITY trial had shown periodontal diseases to be potential risk marker for cardiovascular disease. On assessing patients with chronic coronary heart disease and at least one additional risk factor for CHD, a high prevalence of tooth loss was seen in most of these patients. This was the largest study of its kind of study to assess dental disease in coronary patients.

Research on similar lines has now shown tooth loss to be linked to both physical and mental decline in older adults suggesting that tooth loss may be a potential early marker of decline in older age. This research in UK analyzed over 3,100 adults ≥ 60 years with results showing that subjects who had lost all their natural dentition performed around 10% worse in both memory and walking as compared to those who had natural teeth. However, the link was insignificant when researchers took into account a wide range of factors, such as age, gender, smoking, drinking, depression, physical health, and socioeconomic status. But the link between totally edentulous mouths and slower walking speed remained significant. Moreover, the link between losing all natural teeth and having poorer memory and slower walking speed 10 years later was noticeably stronger in adults aged 60-74 years than in those aged ≥ 75 years.

Researchers conclude from this finding that noticing excessive tooth loss in adults should prompt one to understand their risk of faster decline later in life. Factors such as lifestyle factors and psychosocial factors influence this decline.Dental surgeons could be the first ones to predict physical and mental decline in patients with tooth loss.