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Tooth Loss May Up Risk for Cognitive Decline, Dementia

Dose-response relationship demonstrated between the number of missing teeth and risk for cognitive decline

THURSDAY, July 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Tooth loss is independently associated with a higher risk for cognitive impairment and dementia, according to a review and meta-analysis published online July 8 in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Xiang Qi, from the Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University in New York City, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to quantify the association between tooth loss and the risk for cognitive impairment and dementia.

Based on 14 studies (35,074 participants), the researchers found that people with more tooth loss had higher risks for developing cognitive impairment (relative risk, 1.48; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.18 to 1.87) and dementia (relative risk, 1.28; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.09 to 1.11). The association was not significant for individuals wearing dentures (relative risk, 1.10; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.90 to 1.11). The investigators found evidence of a dose response, with each additional tooth loss associated with a 0.014 higher relative risk for cognitive impairment and a 0.011 higher relative risk for dementia.

“This ‘dose-response’ relationship between the number of missing teeth and risk of diminished cognitive function substantially strengthens the evidence linking tooth loss to cognitive impairment, and provides some evidence that tooth loss may actually predict cognitive decline,” Qi said in a statement.

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