As adults age, many conditions might arise, including diabetes, which can lead to tooth loss. Tooth loss due to diabetes isn’t simply painful and inconvenient – it can also indicate deeper underlying issues that need to be addressed for elderly patients to stay healthy.
Recent studies show how tooth loss caused by diabetes isn’t just a case of vanity. Researchers are now beginning to understand how oral health, diabetes, and cognitive decline may exacerbate each other.
Since inflammation plays a role in both diabetes and gum disease, it is also believed to contribute to declines in reasoning and thinking skills – also referred to as cognitive decline. This decline in cognition can lead to more serious conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
How Oral Health Affects Cognition
Overall, there are various ways that poor oral health can affect cognition. For example, chewing healthy food can be difficult for those with missing teeth or with painful gums. By being unable to consume a healthy diet, these people may suffer from nutritional deficiencies that may interfere with cognition. Insulin sensitivity and impaired blood sugar levels in people with diabetes can also worsen nutritional deficiency, affecting cognitive impairment.
Certain bacteria linked with gum disease and chronic periodontitis have also been linked to poor cognitive function.
One prominent study looking at the relationship between tooth loss and diabetes used data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study. The study was conducted between 2006 and 2018 and measured memory and cognition every two years.
The study included 9,948 older adults divided into age groups: 65 to 74, 75 to 84, and 85 and older.
In adults aged 65 to 74, those with diabetes and complete tooth loss had the highest rate of accelerated mental decline compared to those with neither condition. There was no evidence to suggest mental decline was caused by tooth loss or diabetes in adults aged 85 and older.
Researchers believe the relationship between poor oral health and cognitive function is due to inflammation. When there are high levels of systemic inflammation, the white matter gets more disorganized. This can lead to worse brain health and poor cognitive outcomes.
Although more research is needed to fully understand the root cause of this relationship, this study helps outline how oral health can affect the whole body, including heart and mental health. Researchers stress, “Access to dental care for older adults, especially those with diabetes, is really important.”
They concluded the study by suggesting, “Older adults who have poor dental health and diabetes would benefit from cognitive screenings from their primary care providers.”
Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
As this study suggests, supporting healthy blood sugar levels is vital as we age. Healthy Blood Sugar Support can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels using a number of ingredients that have been shown in clinical studies. The health benefits of this unique formula include supporting blood-sugar metabolism and promoting healthy cholesterol and glucose levels already within the normal range. Healthy Blood Sugar Support can also help to reduce excessive hunger or increased appetite, fatigue, and blood glucose spikes after meals.