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BMC Oral Health. 2014 Jun 13;14:70. doi: 10.1186/1472-6831-14-70.

Oral health conditions and cognitive functioning in middle and later adulthood.

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Department of Conservative Dentistry, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.



The purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of oral health conditions on cognitive functioning on basis of data samples from several European countries.


Secondary analyses were conducted of data from wave 2 of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) which includes 14 European countries and is intended to be representative of each country's middle and later adulthood population. Information on word recall, verbal fluency, and numeracy as well as information on chewing ability and denture wearing status was available for a total of 28,693 persons aged 50+. Multivariate regression analysis was used to detect influences of oral health parameters on cognitive functioning (pā€‰<ā€‰0.05).


Persons with good chewing ability or without dentures had significantly better word recall, verbal fluency, and numeracy skills than persons with chewing impairment or with dentures. The observed patterns of parameter estimates imply differential oral health impacts on numeracy compared to word recall and verbal fluency.


The present study provides novel large-scale epidemiological evidence supportive of an association between oral health and cognitive functioning. Future research should intend to verify the precise causal links between oral health conditions, various cognitive dimensions, and their neural correlates.

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