According to new research, remembering to brush your teeth regularly could help keep your memory sharp as you get older; a study that has followed 5,500 volunteers over the past eighteen years has found that those who brushed their teeth less than once a day were 65% more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed three times a day. This is not the first time poor oral health has been linked to medical conditions; recently, it was discovered that gum disease could cause narrowing of the arteries, leading to a higher chance of heart attack or stroke. It was also revealed that people with Alzheimer’s were found to have more gum disease-related bacteria in their brain than others.
Lead author of the study, Annlia Paganini-Hill, said in reference to the results ‘Not only does the state of your mind predict what kind of oral health habits you practise, it may be that your oral health habits influence whether or not you get dementia’.
After eighteen years studying the elderly volunteers, the scientists found that 1,145 of them showed signs of dementia, with one in 3.7 women developing dementia by 2010, after brushing their teeth less than once a day since 1992. For those who brushed at least once a day, around one in 4.5 women developed the disease. Researchers were keen to stress that this doesn’t prove the two are linked and more study is needed into the idea, but scientists at the University of California said that ‘If confirmed… regular oral hygiene and use of dentures may reduce the risk of dementia.’