MAUD BERGDAHL, REZA HABIB, JAN BERGDAHL, LARS NYBERG, LARS-GÖRAN NILSSON (2007)
Natural teeth and cognitive function in humans
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 48 (6), 557–565.
A number of neurobiological, psychological and social factors may account for cognitive impairment. In animal studies a relation between dental status and cognitive performance has been found. It is unclear whether such a relation exists for humans. In a first step we compared the performance of 1,351 participants (53% women, 47% men; age M = 54.0) with natural teeth to 487 edentulous participants (59% women, 41% men; age M = 71.3) on 12 cognitive tests. The natural teeth group had a lower mean age, fewer women, more years of education, higher mini-mental state (MMSE), and performed significantly higher on several cognitive tests. In a subsequent analysis, the cognitive performance of a subset of the participants (50–85 years) was examined. In this analysis, 211 had natural dentition and 188 were edentulous. The groups were matched for gender, age, social variables, diseases, stress and MMSE. The cognitive disadvantage of the edentulous group was still apparent. The results suggest that functional natural teeth relate to relatively preserved cognitive functioning in older age.