Most of us are aware that poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath – but not brushing your teeth could also have consequences for more serious illnesses. In this spotlight feature we peer beneath the plaque to investigate what other – perhaps unexpected – health conditions are affected by poor dental health.
In 2010, researchers from New York University (NYU) concluded that there is a link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease, after reviewing 20 years of data on the association.
However, the number of participants in the NYU study was fairly small. The researchers analyzed data from 152 subjects enrolled in the Glostrop Aging Study – a study looking at psychological, medical and oral health in Danish men and women. The study spanned a 20-year period and ended in 1984, when the subjects were all over the age of 70. Comparing cognit