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Dentistry and Mental Health

According to a study performed at the University of North Carolina, people with poor dental health perform worse on cognitive memory test compared to those with healthy mouths.  The study was reported in December 2013 Journal of the American Dental Association and summarized in US News and World Report. In the study, people 9,874 people were tested for memory retention of words and numbers.  What they found was that for every tooth a person was missing, their cognitive function score decreased slightly.  People who were missing all of their teeth, generally scored the lowest numbers.  These results held true for those with periodontal disease.  Those with healthy mouths generally scored higher than those who displayed moderate to severe periodontal disease.

In this study, the researchers speculated that the poor dental health lead to the inability to eat “healthy brain foods” therefore causing the memory discrepancy.  They also speculated about the possibility that periodontal disease may release endotoxins into the bloodstream which may affect cognitive thinking.  

While the findings of this study will require further investigation, it is important to remember that our mouths are an integral part of the health of our entire body.  Taking care of your teeth affects so much more than your smile and your breath.  It affects your entire body and maybe even your mind.  

It’s not too late to come in and take advantage of any benefits you may have left in 2013!