Aging And Edentulism

Our smile changes with age. Did you know that edentulism has been linked to several problems in an aging population. It is easy to understand how dementia can cause tooth loss. People suffering from Alzheimer’s, memory loss, or other types of senility can easily forget things such as to take their medicines or brush their teeth. The lack of proper dental health is the major cause of periodontal disease which, in turn, is the major cause of tooth loss. That’s understandable.  It is easy to understand that people suffering from arthritis, particularly in their wrists and hands, can suffer tooth loss. It’s painful and difficult for them to hold a toothbrush long enough to brush their teeth properly. A study performed in England has now established a link between memory, walking speeds, and edentulism (complete tooth loss) in the elderly.

The Study

It’s not hard to understand how memory can affect tooth loss. If someone consistently forgets to brush their teeth then they are eventually going to lose them. Even so, memory performance and walking speed were compared in 3, 166 adults ages 60 and over from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). When the memory and walking speed of people with edentulism (total tooth loss) were compared to that of their peers with teeth it was found that nearly 10 percent of the edentulous group performed worse in walking speed and memory. Even more interesting was the fact that once the results were adjusted for other factors including sociodemographic characteristics, smoking, drinking, and other health problems, edentulous people of the same age still walked slower than their counterparts with teeth.

The findings show that edentulism in people ages 60 to 74 can be an early indication of mental and physical decline.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is a former adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.