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Tooth loss linked to increased risk of dementia

Older people who have less teeth have an increased risk of developing dementia, new study results suggest. 

Older people who have less teeth have an increased risk of developing dementia, new study results suggest. 


Those with one to nine teeth had an 81% increased risk of developing dementia
compared to those with more than 20 teeth. Picture: Alamy

Researchers in Japan studied 1,566 community-dwelling Japanese adults aged 60 and over, who were followed up for five years from 2007 to 2012. During this time, 180 of the study participants developed all-cause dementia; 127 had Alzheimer's disease and 42 developed vascular dementia. 

After adjusting for confounding factors, the researchers found that those with one to nine teeth had an 81% increased risk of developing dementia compared to those with more than 20 teeth. 

Clinical importance 

For people with ten to 19 teeth the increased risk was 62%, and for those with no teeth it was 63%, compared to people with more than 20 teeth, the researchers said. 

'Our findings emphasise the clinical importance of dental care and treatment, especially in terms of maintenance of teeth from an early age for reducing the future risk of dementia,' said study co-author Dr Tomoyuki Ohara. 


Takeuchi K et al (2017) Tooth Loss and Risk of Dementia in the Community: the Hisayama Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14791 

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