A recent critical appraisal from NHS Choices “Behind the Headlines” evaluates claims of a possible causal relationship between tooth loss and memory loss in healthy older people. A small study of older people has found that the loss of natural teeth is significantly associated with poorer performance on cognitive tests. More research would help investigate the reasons for this association, but this critical appraisal reminds readers that it would be unwise to confuse a statistical correlation with causation.
“Overall, this was a small but well-conducted study. While it suggests that there may be a link between tooth and memory loss, any association is likely to be small, of unclear clinical significance, and needs to be confirmed in larger prospective trials”.
Do you lose your memory when you lose your teeth? London: NHS Choices, June 20th 2013.
This relates to:
Full Text Link (b) (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).
Hansson, P. Sunnegårdh-Grönberg, K. [and] Bergdahl, J. [et al] (2013). Relationship between natural teeth and memory in a healthy elderly population. European Journal of Oral Sciences. May 28th 2013.
Tooth Loss Associated with Brain White Matter Change and Silent Infarction
A separate study, possibly of interest:
Minn, YK. Suk, SH. [and] Park, H. [et al] (2013). Tooth loss is associated with brain white matter change and silent infarction among adults without dementia and stroke. Journal of Korean Medical Science, June 2013, Vol.28(6), pp.929-33. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 9, August 2013].