A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association points out the need for oral health in the elderly. The study says that older adults with tooth loss have a higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. The more teeth that are missing, the increased risk.
Researchers reviewed records of 24,074 participants, of which 4,689 had cognitive impairment or dementia. They found that each missing tooth was associated with a 1.4% increase in the risk of cognitive impairment and a 1.1% increased risk of dementia. Those with 20 or more missing teeth had a 31% higher risk. Participants who had missing teeth but also used dentures were not found to have a higher risk.
The connection between missing teeth and these risks is not clear. Perhaps missing teeth create problems chewing food so much that nutritional deficiencies or chemical imbalances occur. If there has been poor oral hygiene, increased bacteria in the mouth or gum disease may also have a connection.
Or it’s possible that people who are experiencing cognitive decline become less able to take care of their teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. There’s still a lot to be studied on this issue but one thing is clear: aging adults often need more care. At Corewood Care, we serve seniors and their families with in-home care, allowing the elderly person to age in place in their own home.
Our caregivers are trained to help with the physical needs such as toileting, bathing, dressing and basic oral care, as well as help in the home with light housekeeping, meal preparation, medication reminders, and companionship and compassion during every visit.
If you or a family member are struggling to keep up with the tasks of daily living, let us help. Contact us for a no-cost home consultation for senior home care services across the greater Bethesda and Washington DC region.