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Dental Health Linked to Dementia Risk

People who keep their teeth and gums healthy with regular brushing may have a lower risk of developing dementia later in life, according to a U.S. study.

Researchers at the University of California who followed nearly 5,500 elderly people over an 18-year-period found that those who reported brushing their teeth less than once a day were nearly 65 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed daily.

Some studies have also found that people with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, have more gum disease-related bacteria in their brains than a person without Alzheimer’s. The theory is that gum disease bacteria might get into the brain, causing inflammation and brain damage.

Inflammation stoked by gum disease-related bacteria has also been implicated in a host of conditions, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.