Can Your Oral Health Affect Your Brain Health?

As experts continue to study the complexities of human oral health, your mouth’s connection to your systemic wellbeing becomes more intricately understood. While this mouth-body connection is often discussed for the complications it can pose to your heart health, there are other arms to the connection that can affect various parts of your body aside from your heart. Today, we discuss how the state of your oral health can affect your brain health and cognitive function.

Connecting Periodontal Health and Dementia

Inflammation is an interesting human biological reaction. As a component of your immune system’s arsenal, inflammation helps your body’s self-defense mechanisms hunt down and eliminate harmful pathogens. Conversely, soft tissue inflammation is also a suspected instigating factor in a number of chronic illnesses, including the diminished cognitive ability associated with Alzheimer’s disease. When inflammation affects your gums due to the presence of oral bacteria, the swelling, redness, and bleeding are often telltale signs of the beginning of gum disease. A study conducted by NYU dental researchers, who examined oral health and cognitive data on 152 senior subjects, revealed that unchecked gum inflammation may contribute to brain inflammation and resulting Alzheimer’s disease.

Chewing Ability and Your Cognitive Abilities

If you lost one or more of your teeth, how motivated would you be to replace them? If a gapped smile is not something you look forward to living with, then tooth replacement would probably be a first priority. Aside from diminishing your smile’s beauty, however, unresolved tooth loss can also dramatically affect your oral health by leading to jawbone deterioration and further tooth loss. Your chewing ability is also affected by lost teeth, which according to researchers at the Karolinska Institutet can affect more than your eating habits. The scientists’ research involved a random sample of 557 people aged 77 and older. The participants who had difficulty chewing hard foods (like apples) were at considerably more risk of diminished cognitive ability.


Shawn Hofkes, DDS, is highly qualified to address complex issues, including the diagnosis and treatment of destructive gum disease. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.