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From Mouth to Mind: How Oral Health Impacts Brain Function

April 26, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drsaran @ 1:41 pm
Patient getting an oral health examination

Oral health has always been important for maintaining a beautiful smile and bodily wellness. However, you may have a new reason to keep your pearly whites clean! A recent study has shown a surprising link between oral health and brain function. This means that a cleaner mouth can improve your memory, focus, and other cognitive abilities. But how? Continue reading to learn more about the study and improve your oral health.

What was the Study and What Did It Reveal?

A recent study conducted by researchers at the American Academy of Neurology examined the relationship between oral health and brain function. The study followed over a hundred participants, tracking their oral hygiene habits and memory recall. The results revealed a strong link between poor oral health and an increased risk of cognitive decline.

How Does Your Oral Health Affect Your Brain?

There are two main ways the study shows a mouth-brain connection. Both affect the hippocampus region of the brain which is responsible for memory and is often affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Gum Disease and Brain Shrinkage: Mild gum disease combined with tooth loss was linked to faster hippocampal shrinkage.
  • Severe Gum Disease: Keeping teeth with severe gum disease also correlated with increased brain atrophy.

Gum disease is a big factor in the study. Dr. Alan Reisinger, a board member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, suggests that bacteria could be to blame for mental decline.

How Does Oral Bacteria Harm Your Body and Brain?

Inadequate dental hygiene helps harmful bacteria to thrive in your mouth. Over time, these bacteria build up and can slip through your bloodstream into vital areas like your brain and heart. This triggers an immune response causing inflammation.

Studies from the American Stroke Association suggest that this inflammation can cause stroke and heart disease. They also confirm the American Academy of Neurology’s study about the effects of oral bacteria on the brain. The same inflammation can damage otherwise healthy brain tissue, possibly leading to cognitive decline.

Research linking brain health and oral wellness is still underway. However, the initial findings are important to understanding the continued importance of oral health for your whole body. While at-home brushing is good, professional cleanings are also necessary to keep your mouth bacteria-free. So, call your dentist today and schedule a cleaning to begin your commitment to a healthier brain and a better smile!

About the Practice

At LIC Dental Associates, you’ll find a compassionate and talented team of dentists who excel at patient care and comfort. They utilize the latest dental technology and techniques to create tailor-made treatment plans and procedures to meet all your oral health needs. Call (347) 537-6172 to schedule an appointment for a professional exam and cleaning, or visit the website to see a full menu of services they provide.

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