Introduction This cross-sectional study investigated the relationship between the number of remaining teeth to mild memory impairment (MMI), which is a preclinical stage of dementia, and to cognitive impairment.
Methods The subjects were aged 65 years or older and were grouped according to their score for the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the three-word delayed recall test in the MMSE, and the Geriatric Depression Scale into the control group (n=3696), the MMI group (n=121), and the low MMSE score (23 or lower) group (n=214). We collected data on the number of remaining teeth, the length of the edentulous period, health-related lifestyle, medical history, blood pressure, height, and body weight. Fasting venous blood samples were also obtained.
Results Multiple logistic regression analysis, adjusted for depressive symptoms, age, sex, length of education, and other explanatory variables, revealed that the ORs of 0–10 remaining teeth to 22–32 remaining teeth were 1.679 (95% CI 1.073 to 2.627) for MMI and 2.177 (95% CI 1.510 to 3.140) for a low MMSE score. A significant relationship was also found between the length of the edentulous period and the risk of a low MMSE score (OR 3.102, 95% CI 1.432 to 6.720) (15 years or more/<15 years).
Conclusions Our findings suggest that tooth loss is associated with low cognitive function. This possible pathophysiology may be presumed by periodontal disease, gene polymorphisms in inflammatory cytokines, and a decrease in the number of periodontal mechanoreceptors.
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