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Exploring the Link Between Tooth Loss, Periodontitis, and Dementia

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A recent study explored the potential link between tooth loss, periodontitis, and the risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) and related dementia. While the primary causes of dementia are largely unknown, dental health has emerged as a possible factor. Researchers conducted a longitudinal investigation to examine how the number of teeth and the severity of periodontitis may impact changes in the hippocampal volume, a key brain region associated with memory and cognitive function, in older adults. The study involved 172 participants who underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging and dental examinations over 4 years. Participants also completed cognitive assessments. Results from multiple regression analyses demonstrated a significant relationship between the number of teeth, periodontal probing depth, and the annual percent change in left hippocampal volume. Notably, individuals with mild periodontitis experienced faster left hippocampal atrophy as they lost teeth, while those with severe periodontitis showed increased atrophy as they retained more teeth. The study was published in Neurology. Click here to read more.

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