Another good reason to brush your teeth

Researchers at the University of Southern California studied Researchers at the University of Southern California studied more than 5,000 elderly people for 18 years and found that those who did not brush their teeth had up to a 65 percent greater risk of Alzheimer's than those who brushed their teeth at least once a day. (Oct. 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Bloomberg

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Is it possible to give dementia the brushoff?

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Researchers at the University of Southern California studied more than 5,000 elderly people for 18 years and found that those who did not brush their teeth had up to a 65 percent greater risk of Alzheimer's, and other forms of dementia, than those who brushed their teeth at least once a day.

The cause and effect is not clear. "It could be that bacteria in your mouth can get to your brain," lead researcher Annlia Paganini Hill told Dental News Network. Paganini Hill also noted that the results could simply be that people with poor dental habits are more likely to lose their teeth, which could affect their diet. Many studies have connected poor nutrition and dementia, and other studies have found links between oral health and some diseases such as hardening of the arteries and type 2 diabetes.

You also may be interested in: