Poor dental hygiene habits are tied to an increased risk for developing dementia in older age, a new study found.
In a University of California study following 5,500 elderly adults, investigators found that women who brush their teeth less than once a day are 65% more likely to develop dementia than women who brush their teeth at least once per day. Researchers followed participants for 18 years. The average age of participants was 81.
This effect was less pronounced in elderly men. Among men, those with irregular teeth-brushing habits were only 22% more likely to develop dementia within 18 years of the start of the study.
“It’s nice if this relationship holds true as there’s something people can do [to reduce their chances of developing dementia],” lead invesigator, Annlia Paganini-Hill, Ph.D., said.
The study was published online in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.