How Diabetes, Tooth Loss May Worse Cognitive Decline in Older People: Study | Health

According to a recent study, both diabetes and tooth loss are associated with reduced cognitive function and faster cognitive decline in older people.

The study findings, published in a special edition of the Journal of Dental Research, focus on aging and oral health.

“Our findings underscore the importance of dental care and diabetes management for older adults to reduce the devastating personal and societal costs of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias,” said Bei Wu, vice dean for research at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Director of the NYU Aging Incubator, as well as lead author of the study.

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Diabetes is a known risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. Several features of diabetes—high blood sugar, insulin resistance, inflammation, and associated heart disease—are thought to contribute to changes in the brain.

A growing body of research has revealed similar links between poor oral health, particularly gum disease and tooth loss, and cognitive impairment and dementia. Like diabetes, inflammation plays a key role in gum disease, and these inflammatory processes can contribute to cognitive decline. In addition, sore gums and missing teeth can make it difficult to chew, which can lead to dietary changes that can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Malnutrition, which can be worsened by poor glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in diabetes, is another risk factor for cognitive impairment and dementia.

“Poor oral health, diabetes, and cognitive decline are all linked, and we’re beginning to understand how they can influence and exacerbate each other,” Wu said.

While diabetes and missing teeth are both risk factors for dementia, little research has focused on the effects of either condition on cognitive decline. To address this gap, Wu and his colleagues turned to the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study, analyzing 12 years of data (2006-2018) from a longitudinal study to observe cognitive changes over time.

The researchers included 9,948 older adults in their analysis, grouped by age (65 to 74, 75 to 84, and 85 and older). The Health and Retirement Study includes measures of memory and cognitive function, assessed every two years, along with questions about tooth loss, diabetes, and other health and demographic factors. In this analysis, the researchers were particularly interested in older adults who had lost all their teeth.

They found that adults aged 65 to 84 years had worse cognitive function than their counterparts without both diabetes and complete tooth loss. Over time, only 65- to 74-year-olds with diabetes experienced faster cognitive decline, and 65- to 84-year-olds with no teeth experienced faster cognitive decline, but 65- to 74-year-olds had higher rates of diabetes and complete tooth loss. was the fastest. of cognitive decline.

The association between diabetes, tooth loss, and cognitive decline was inconclusive for adults age 85 and older, which could be explained by the fact that this group overall had greater cognitive impairment, potentially being healthier (unhealthier individuals may be less likely to live into their late 80s). , or perhaps have more experience managing your diabetes.

For older adults with both poor oral health and diabetes, researchers emphasize the importance of regular dental visits, adherence to diabetes treatment and self-care to control blood sugar levels, and cognitive screening in primary care settings.

“Access to dental care for older adults — especially those with diabetes — is critical, and health care providers should educate their patients about the connection between oral health and cognition,” Wu said. (ANI)

This story is published from the Wire Agency feed without modification to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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