Link between gum disease and poorer cognition in older adults

September, 2010

A strong association between gum inflammation and poorer cognitive performance in 70-year-olds has been found in a small study.

Following on from indications that gum disease might be a risk factor for dementia, analysis of data from 152 subjects in the Danish Glostrop Aging Study has revealed that periodontal inflammation at age 70 was strongly associated with lower cognitive scores (on the Digit Symbol Test). Those with periodontal inflammation were nine times more likely to test in the lower range compared to those with little or no periodontal inflammation. A larger follow-up study, among a more ethnically diverse range of subjects, is planned. I hope they also plan to extend the cognitive testing.

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The findings were presented by Dr. Angela Kamer at the 2010 annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research July 16, in Barcelona, Spain.

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