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Memory Spring Monthly

Want to Maintain Your Memory? Brush Your Teeth!

 Kid Brushing Teeth - Noah Fans

Most of us know that it’s important to keep your brain challenged and eat right to stave off memory decline. But did you know that it is just as important to maintain good oral health?  Yes, there’s an increasing amount of data that supports a connection between oral health and memory. The data suggests that taking care of your teeth and gums can protect your brain and memory.

In one study, researchers followed 1,053 randomly selected individuals aged 70 to 79 from the Health ABC Study. The researchers performed cognition tests at baseline (year one) and again at years three and five. Comprehensive oral examinations were conducted at year two.
The brain components of the test assessed a number functions including concentration, doing or practicing tasks, immediate and delayed memory, attention, sequencing and other tasks.  The dental examinations looked at several measures of oral health, including number of teeth, gum inflammation, loss of teeth, and other factors.  
The researchers found an association between low scores on almost all oral health measures and cognitive impairment. Gingival (gum) inflammation was most strongly associated with cognitive impairment and was the only factor that predicted cognitive decline.
Contributors to Brain Dysfunction 
While gingival inflammation can be associated with genetics, stress and other factors, it is most associated with poor oral maintenance. Here are some of the resulting elements that contribute to decline. 
Bacteria – Poor oral health breeds harmful bacteria, particularly Porphyromonas Gingivalis.  Porphyromonas Gingivalis is considered a significant contributor to chronic Periodontitis and minor conditions such as Gingivitis. Research has linked these chronic gum diseases with cognitive decline. 
According to Web MD, Scientists have found links between periodontal disease and its bacteria and a number of other problems, including Dementia, Heart disease, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Premature birth. They believe that oral bacteria can escape into the bloodstream and injure the brain and other major organs. Bacteria found in infected gum tissue around teeth break down the barrier between the gums and the underlying connective tissue, causing inflammation, which is the body’s natural response to infection. During normal chewing or brushing, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and move to other parts of the circulatory system, contributing to the formation of cardiovascular disease. 
Poor Heart Performance - Your brain requires 20% of your oxygen rich blood supply to operate correctly, Heart disease, including clogged arteries or poor heart performance can cause poor brain performance. As oral bacteria travels through the body, it inflames the circulatory system. What happens when your body becomes inflamed? It triggers the formation of arterial plaque which narrows and or clogs arteries restricting blood flow to the brain. Oral bacteria have been found in the fatty deposits of people with atherosclerosis.
Tooth Loss - A study published in the European Journal of Oral Health revealed that losing teeth could actually worsen your memory. It found a connection between the number of a person’s teeth and the person’s cognitive abilities.  Previous studies on the connection between teeth and cognitive function were carried out on animals such as rats. What were the results? The rats whose teeth were pulled out had more problems with memory formation and retention. Scientists say that memories are formed by sensory impulses, which are produced by the movement of the jaw. People without natural teeth produce fewer signals that are sent to the hippocampus.  
Negative Mental Health - Anxiety and depression have been continually linked to memory loss and memory retention problems. Multiple studies have shown that both our mind and body states are closely connected to our oral hygiene. A West Virginia University study revealed that tooth loss (especially as we get older), contributes to anxiety and depression.  In addition, the appearance of our teeth is interconnected with our mood. Good teeth can have a huge impact on your mood because they inspire confidence and a willingness to smile more. 
Recommendations for Maintaining Oral Health
Here are some recommendations from to maintain your oral health: 
Remember to Brush Your Teeth Before You Go to Bed. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day.  Many times we forget to brush at night, however, brushing before bed gets rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day.
Brush properly. The way you brush is equally important — in fact, doing a poor job of brushing your teeth is almost as bad as not brushing at all. Arrow Smile Dental recommends When brushing your teeth, position the bristles at an angle of 45 degrees near the gum line. Both the gum line and the tooth surface should be in contact with the bristles. Brush the outer surfaces of the teeth using a back-and-forth, up-and-down motion, making sure to be done gently in order to avoid bleeding. To clean the inside surfaces of the teeth and gums, place the bristles at a 45-degree angle again and repeat the back-and-forth, up-and-down motion. 
Remember to brush your tongue. According to 123 Dentist, just like bacteria builds up on and in between your teeth, it also builds up on your tongue. The bacteria and other debris trapped on the tongue can cause bad breath, or halitosis, and a white discoloration of the tongue. In addition, the bacteria on the tongue can redeposit onto teeth and gums, even after they’ve been cleaned, increasing the likelihood of plaque and tartar buildup.
Use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride works by fighting germs that can lead to decay, as well as providing a protective barrier for your teeth.
Floss at least once per day. According to Jonathan Schwartz, D.D.S. of Manhattan Dental Health, Not only does flossing get those little pieces of food from between your teeth, it also stimulates the gums, reduces plaque, and helps lower inflammation in the area. And don’t let flossing difficulties stop you. Rather than give up, look for tools that can help you get the floss your teeth need. Ready-to-use dental flossers from the drugstore can make a difference.
Consider mouthwash. Schwartz says mouthwash helps in three ways: It reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums, and re-mineralizes the teeth. “Mouthwashes are useful as an adjunct tool to help bring things into balance,” he explains. “I think in children and older people, where the ability to brush and floss may not be ideal, a mouthwash is particularly helpful.” Ask your dentist for specific mouthwash recommendations. 
Drink more water. Water is still the beverage of choice when it comes to oral health, general wellness, and brain health. As a rule of thumb, Schwartz recommends drinking water after every meal. This can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushes.
Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables. Eating fresh, crunchy produce is great for your teeth and contains healthy fiber. “I tell parents to get their kids on harder-to-eat and chew foods at a younger age,” says Schwartz. “So try to avoid the overly mushy processed stuff, stop cutting things into tiny pieces, and get those jaws working!”
Limit sugary and acidic foods. While sugary and acidic foods satisfy us in many ways, maintaining high levels of acid in our mouth can erode the enamel on our teeth and lead to cavities. Sugar converts into acid in the mouth. our teeth. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee all contribute to enamel erosion. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, reducing the consumption of those foods helps.
Remember to see your dentist at least twice a year. No matter how good of a brusher and flosser you are, it still is important to see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Your dentist will remove calculus, look for cavities, and be able to spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions.
So remember, maintaining your oral health will not only help your mouth, but your brain too! For more information on memory improvement and brain health This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at (530) 297-6464.