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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Aug;60(8):1556-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04064.x. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

Dentition, dental health habits, and dementia: the Leisure World Cohort Study.

Author information

1
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA. annliahi@usc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To explore the association between dentition and dental health behaviors and incident dementia.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal cohort.

SETTING:

Leisure World, Laguna Hills, CA; a retirement community.

PARTICIPANTS:

Five thousand four hundred sixty-eight older (median age 81) adults followed from 1992 to 2010.

MEASUREMENTS:

Questions regarding dental health focused on number of natural teeth, dentures worn, number of visits to a dentist, and oral health habits. Dementia status was determined from in-person evaluations, follow-up questionnaires, hospital data, and death certificates. Estimates of dementia risk were calculated using Cox regression analysis in men and women separately.

RESULTS:

Men with inadequate natural masticatory function who did not wear dentures had a 91% greater risk of dementia than those with adequate natural masticatory function (≥ 10 upper teeth and ≥ 6 lower teeth). This risk was also greater in women but not significantly so. Dentate individuals who reported not brushing their teeth daily had a 22% to 65% greater risk of dementia than those who brushed three times daily.

CONCLUSION:

In addition to helping maintain natural, healthy, functional teeth, oral health behaviors are associated with lower risk of dementia in older adults.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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