Lake Orion Dentist on Importance of Chewing Ability

November 1, 2012

The loss of cognitive functions can impact many facets of a person’s life. A recent study attempted to establish a link between the ability to chew and the risk for dementia development. Difficulty chewing can also greatly impact a person’s life and overall wellbeing. Your Lake Orion dentist, Dr. Brad Greenfield, discusses the recent study linking chewing ability and dementia.

Dementia Basics

As our population continues to live longer and longer, more dementia cases will likely occur. Currently, dementia falls into the category of syndrome, as opposed to disease. However, disease like Alzheimer’s can lead to the development of dementia. People with dementia experience difficulty recalling dates, times, family members’ names, and even their locale. Roughly 24 million people worldwide suffer from some form of dementia or show early signs of dementia.

Dental Health and Dementia

According to a recent study, people who lose their ability to chew hard foods like apples or pears experience higher risks of dementia development. The study tested 557 elderly people and measured their mental and oral health. The study speculated that blood flow to the brain from chewing hard foods enabled patients to maintain their mental functionality.

Corroborating evidence exists from a previous study conducted by the Baylor School of Medicine. Baylor researchers determined that students whom reported regular gum chewing posted higher scores on mathematics exams than other students. The study concluded that the increased blood flow to the brain from chewing enables students to perform with better results.

The loss of chewing ability can occur from a variety of causes. Sometimes, patients simply outlive their natural teeth. However, in most cases, gum disease or poor oral health played a significant role in their diminished chewing ability. Currently, gum disease acts as the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Teeth replacement options include dentures and dental implants. Dentures serve as a reliable prosthetic, but many patients report the inability to chew hard foods like apples. Dental implants offer reliability, as well as enable patients to continue eating their favorite foods.

Schedule Your Visit

Concerned about maintaining mental functions and chewing ability? Interested in learning more about the role oral health plays in determining overall health? At Lake Orion Family Dentistry, we can provide you with more information about oral health, as well as comprehensive dental care for the whole family. Contact our Lake Orion cosmetic dental office by calling (248) 693-6213 to schedule an appointment today. We proudly serve families from Lake Orion, Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Oxford, and Rochester Hills, the 48360 zip code, as well as many other areas in southeast Michigan.

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