The memory and walking speeds of adults who have lost all of their teeth decline more rapidly than in those who still have some of their own teeth, according to a new research study from the University College London in the United Kingdom. The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, looked at 3,166 adults aged 60 years or older from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and compared their performance in tests of memory and walking speed. The results showed that the people with none of their own teeth performed approximately 10% worse in both memory and walking speed tests than the people with teeth. The association between total tooth loss and memory was explained after the results were fully adjusted for a wide range of factors, such as socio-demographic characteristics, existing health problems, physical health, health behaviors (such as smoking and drinking), depression, relevant biomarkers, and particularly socioeconomic status. However, after adjusting for all possible factors, people without teeth still walked slightly slower than those with teeth. These links between older adults in England losing all natural teeth and having poorer memory and worse physical function 10 years later were more evident in adults aged 60 to 74 years than in those aged 75 and older.
(Source: University College London; ScienceDaily, December 18, 2014)