Poor dental hygiene could lead to memory loss, according to a new study in the European Journal of Oral Sciences. Scientists from universities in Sweden and Norway found a significant relationship between the number of natural teeth that a person has and his or her ability to perform well on a memory test.
In the study, 273 participants aged 55 to 80 underwent a health assessment, completed a series of cognitive tests and were given an extensive dental examination. They had on average 22 teeth — one-third fewer than a full adult set of 32.
The scientists could not come up with any concrete explanation for their results, but did offer some ideas. Losing natural teeth reduces sensory signals that teeth send to the brain. This can affect memory. It is also possible that gum infections that can lead to tooth loss may also cause inflammation, which may damage nerves. There is also the simple correlation that people who take care of their teeth tend to be more concerned about their overall health.
"People who have more teeth are probably more health-conscious and take better care of themselves, as well as their teeth, " said Dr. Mark Wolf, a dentist unaffiliated with the study, to Men's Health.
For people with orthodontic braces, keeping your teeth clean is essential, and there is no reason why you shouldn't do it. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day, and schedule regular professional cleanings with your general dentist. Sometimes braces wearers have difficulties cleaning their teeth, so it is important that you stay in contact with your New York City orthodontist for regular appointments and adjustments.
Don't let your teeth cause you to lose your memory!