Easy Dental Care: Flossing Can Protect Against Dementia

flossing for cognitive health dr macalik arlington tx

Your dentist and hygienist have always known that flossing is good for you, an essential part of daily oral health care. Now, a new analysis has found that flossing and brushing may help prevent dementia and cognitive impairment. There are so few things a person can do to effectively ward off cognitive decline – knowing that the simple act of flossing is an impactful act of dental care is something to celebrate.

The Dental Care Research That Promotes Flossing

Researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing analyzed 14 studies on tooth loss and cognitive impairment, which involved over 34,000 adults and almost 4,700 cases of people with diminished cognitive function. The findings? Adults with more tooth loss had a 1.48 times higher risk of cognitive impairment and 1.28 times higher risk of dementia, even in the face of other factors. With every additional missing tooth, the risk grows.

In short: Oral health matters.

The Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth

If you have missing teeth but replace them, you are in a better position than people who don’t, for a variety of reasons. Certainly, a complete smile looks better and works better, but cognitive decline is also less likely if you have dentures. Your Arlington dentist can tell you that there are many options for replacing missing teeth that won’t saddle you with a future living with dentures.

Dental implants are a strong, permanent option that eliminates the need for adhesives as well as the worry that can come along with having removable dentures. A dental bridge can also effectively replace a few missing teeth in one area of the mouth. Partial dentures, combined with dental implants, offer the benefits of both dental restorations.

Preventive Dental Care for Strong Cognitive Skills

It’s not just dealing with missing teeth that matters, it’s preventive dental care that helps stop oral health problems from developing at all, including:

  • Dental exams and teeth cleanings: See your dentist every six months for a check-up, teeth cleaning, x-rays, and oral cancer screenings.
  • Tooth-colored fillings: If you have a painful tooth or suspect decay or other oral health problem, see your dentist immediately for a quick intervention.
  • Gum disease treatment: Any swelling, redness, or gum discomfort should be addressed right away to prevent early stages of gum disease from ballooning into a bigger problem and, eventually, tooth loss.
  • At-home care: Brush at least twice daily and floss at least once to maintain healthy teeth in between dental visits.

A Healthy Mouth Equals a Healthy Brain and Body

When your mouth is healthy, your brain is healthy. When you have all your teeth, you can eat a healthy diet, which lends itself to overall good health and makes it possible for you to get the nutrients the brain needs. Plus, you will feel confident about smiling, which is a boon to mental health. Both help maintain wellness and can minimize potential cognitive decline.

Also part of the analysis was a look at oral inflammation, which is connected to brain inflammation and cognitive impairment, as well as other health problems including cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, and more.

Make your oral health a priority with quality dental care. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Alana Macalik in Arlington, TX.