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Mind and Mouth Matters: How Your Oral Health Impacts Your Brain

March 4, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — adc4smilesteam @ 6:32 pm
Woman blurry in the background touching fingers to an animated colorful brain in the foreground

Thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth both morning and night is a simple and effective way to prevent dental problems, but did you know that it can also maintain your memories? It may surprise you to learn that your teeth can influence your cognitive function, but recent studies have indicated that there’s a connection between the two. Keep reading to learn more about how your oral health affects your brain!

How Was the Connection Between Oral and Brain Health Studied?

You probably already know that practicing consistent dental hygiene at home is a great way to keep your mouth healthy because it removes bacteria and plaque buildup that contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Based on recent studies, this habit can also help you keep your memories intact.

In one experiment, 172 participants who did not have a history of memory problems underwent oral examinations, brain scans, and memory tests. Their teeth were counted and their periodontal (how much gum tissue they had) was measured to establish their dental condition. The brain scans allowed scientists to measure the volume of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain associated with memory retention. Scientists took these measurements again 4 years later so that they could compare the results.

What Did Researchers Learn from This Experiment?

Researchers found that the number of teeth and the amount of gum disease a person has is linked to changes in the left hippocampus of the brain. Specifically, they learned that this part of their brain shrank faster in those who had mild to severe periodontal problems. People with mild gum disease (indicated by a probing depth of 3 or 4 millimeters) had a rate of shrinkage due to one less tooth that was the equivalent of nearly one year of brain aging. That rate increased to an equivalent of 1.3 years of brain aging for people with more severe periodontitis and a probing depth of 5 or 6 millimeters.

How Does My Oral Health Impact My Memory?

Certain medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, recurrent depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and age-related dementia are associated with a reduced hippocampus, too. Although it’s not a direct cause-and-effect relationship, you can potentially support your brain structure and maintain your memories by properly caring for your pearly whites to avoid developing cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.    

Thoroughly scrubbing your teeth twice daily is a great start, but you should also keep up with routine dental visits every 6 months. This allows your dentist to spot and address any areas of concern before they progress into real issues.

By caring for your smile properly, you can keep your mind and mouth happy for years to come!

About the Practice

At Advanced Dental Concepts, patients benefit from a team of 3 dental experts who offer a full range of services under one roof. They know that everyone has unique needs and take the time to get to know you and listen to your concerns before creating fully individualized treatment plans to address them. They use state-of-the-art technology in a comfortable environment to enhance patient comfort and create long-lasting results. If you’re worried about the state of your teeth and want to schedule a checkup, you’re welcome to request an appointment on the website or by calling (219) 663-6878.

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