Missing teeth can make life difficult in many ways. Not only does tooth loss increase the risk of temporomandibular joint disorder, it makes us less attractive, while also making it harder to eat. Sadly, this latter issue has been linked to health problems; in fact, a recent study suggests that tooth loss could increase a person’s risk of developing dementia.

Man sitting quietly in front of a puzzle with missing pieces

A Strong Connection Between Missing Teeth and Dementia

A Swedish study suggests that chewing difficulties increase a person’s risk of cognitive problems as they age. To reach their findings, researchers looked at 500 subjects over the age of 77. Ultimately, they discovered that participants were much more likely to develop dementia when they had trouble chewing solid food. The findings were so compelling, they showed that each subject’s risk increased based on the number of teeth he or she had lost.

A more recent study conducted by researchers in Japan found that people with only one to nine teeth had an 81% higher risk of dementia than people with 20 or more teeth. The study involved 1566 adults aged 60 or older in one area of Japan for 5 years. These adults had their teeth checked by a dentist and were asked many questions about aspects of their lives. During the five years, 15% of the subjects developed dementia.

Avoiding Dental Problems to Prevent Dementia

One of the best ways to combat dementia is by avoiding dental problems, to begin with. It might seem obvious, but you should do everything in your power to keep your teeth healthy. This includes regular visits to our dental office for dental cleanings and hygiene and taking proper care of your teeth at home. Don’t ever skip brushing or flossing! If you do encounter problems with your dental health, take care of them. This means removing the cavities, and treating gum disease or infections and opting for restorative dentistry treatments to preserve your teeth. Taking care of your teeth and avoiding tooth loss are the best things you can do to prevent dementia in regards to your oral health.

How Dental Implants Can Help

Tooth loss can occur for many reasons. However, regardless of the cause, the consequences can be dire. Fortunately, you can regain full chewing function with the help of modern dental implants that function just like natural teeth. When patients choose to replace their missing teeth with implants, they reduce their risk of problems, such as temporomandibular joint disorder. They also regain their ability to eat the foods they once loved. By enjoying a more complete diet, full of fibrous vegetables and lean meats, patients can avoid the potential health risks associated with tooth loss. They’re also able to avoid the social stigmas that come with missing teeth.

Preserve or Replace Your Teeth With Our Help

If missing teeth are negatively impacting your life, now is the time to do something about it. Contact Spokane Dentists Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins to learn how dental implants can add significant quality to your life. Don’t endure all the negatives associated with tooth loss; contact our office to find out how implants can change your life.