During the last 50 years, we’ve witnessed an increase in the life expectancy numbers at an international level. Naturally, this is implicitly correlated to two realities that are more prone to occur at old age: dementia (or just about any other form of cognitive impairment) and tooth loss.
At a first glance, it may seem to be no direct relation between the number of teeth in mouth and the ability to manage cognitive functions right. However, recent studies try to prove otherwise, due to the fact that statistics show a correlation between the chewing aptitude and the degradation of cognitive functions. As such, people who can’t chew hard food seem to develop dementia faster.
Here are a number of possible explanations for this phenomenon:
- Chewing hard food on a regular basis keeps increased levels of blood flow to the head, which makes the brain more active.
- There are various infections in the body that can be related to both these conditions. Tooth loss and dementia may be, from this perspective, two simultaneous effects of the same disease, with no other direct correlation whatsoever.
- Other factors or variables, such as gender, social condition, level of education, mental health, don’t seem to affect these statistics, which increases the relevance of correlation between the two.
Irrespective of the nature of this link, it is important to mention a few things you can do to reduce the effects of both or either of them. They are mostly related to general health solutions, though they may be regarded as targeting these particular conditions:
- Keep your dentition as healthy as possible. Apart from reducing risks of dementia, it also reduces the probability of infections in your body.
- Consult a professional doctor if you suspect cognitive function degradation. Proper medication will slow down the entire process, though it will never be able to completely stop it.
- Proper dentures keep your mouth cavity healthy and help you chew right, thus maintaining the blood flow that reaches the brain.