Recent research has looked into the connection between Oral health conditions, Diabetes and Dementia. The researchers wanted to see if those who have both poor oral health and diabetes are at a heightened risk of faster than usual cognitive decline. The findings underline the importance of looking after our oral health throughout life.

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As research continues to advance, the link between oral health and the conditions Diabetes and Dementia is becoming clearer – which is worrying.

This link has recently been affirmed by research carried out [1]. These findings underline the importance of oral health and dental care, especially as we age.


Our oral health is very important. Many people suffer with poor oral health, whether this includes having tooth decay, gum disease or cavities.

Moreover, it is clear that our oral health has physical health complications. This is something that unfortunately is not widely known.

Diabetes is a condition that involves a person’s blood sugar level becoming too high [2]. There are two different types of diabetes, with Diabetes Type 2 more common.

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include obesity, poor diet, high blood pressure. Type 1 Diabetes involves the body’s immune system attacking and destroying the cells that produce insulin [2].

Meanwhile, Dementia is a syndrome that is associated with an ongoing cognitive decline and brain functioning [3]. There are many different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease.

As described, these are three serious conditions. Therefore, trying to avoid these conditions is very important.

The Research

The research was carried out by researchers at New York University [1]. Subsequently, their findings were published in the Journal of Dental Research [1].

It is already known that a connection exists between poor oral health and diabetes – with inflammation playing a key role in both.

But the researchers wanted to focus on how having both diabetes and poor oral health can impact cognitive decline [1]. Therefore, this formed the basis of the research.

The researchers used the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study – which consisted of 12 years’ worth of data, providing researchers with information on cognitive changes over time [1]. The measures included in the data included questions on memory, cognitive function, tooth loss, diabetes and other health demographics [1].

This study involved 9,948 older adults who were grouped in various age categories. These were 65 to 74, 75 to 84, and 85 and older [1]. The researchers looked to see how the above measures changed over the various age groups.

The researchers found that adults aged 65 to 84 with both diabetes and complete tooth loss had worse cognitive function than those in the same age but without either diabetes or total tooth loss [1].

Moreover, those with diabetes alone experienced faster cognitive decline. Similarly, those just with total tooth loss witnessed a faster decline in cognition [1].

The fastest rate of cognitive decline came in those in the 65 to 74 age range that had both diabetes and total tooth loss – underlining the clear connection between having both diabetes and tooth loss, and cognitive decline [1].

Overall, the research found that having both diabetes and tooth loss contributes to faster cognitive decline and poorer cognitive function as we grow older.

Author Comments

These findings are concerning. With oral health problems and diabetes very common, this seemingly puts many people at risk of the debilitating condition of dementia.

The researchers concluded by stressing the importance of older adults having regular dental visits, as well as looking after their diabetes – if they are diagnosed with this too [1].

Bei Wu is the vice-dean of research at the New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing and took part in the research [4].

Wu said that “our findings underscore the importance of dental care and diabetes management for older adults in reducing the devastating personal and societal costs of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias” [4].

Wu said that “poor oral health, diabetes, and cognitive decline are all connected, and we’re beginning to understand how they may influence and exacerbate one another” [4].

The authors have also stated that healthcare providers have a role to play by educating “their patients about the connection between oral health and cognition” [4].

This research underlines the importance of dental care. It also shows the importance of managing diabetes. The findings of this research are important, and serves as a reminder of the importance of our overall health.

Thinking points…

[1] These findings are very important. It should serve as a reminder that we need to look after our oral health throughout our life. This can help us to lessen our chances of cognitive decline, which is crucial as we grow older. The best way of doing this is to attend regular dental check-ups! We recommend booking an appointment now!

[2] If your parents have retired, are elderly, or you have elderly friends, you may wish to share this article with them. Furthermore, you could offer to take them to a dental clinic in order for them to have a check-up carried out. As the article above shows, this is incredibly important, and can reduce the threat of cognitive decline. Therefore, it can help them to have a better quality of life. Why not share the article with them and then arrange an appointment for a check-up!

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a Calgary dental clinic that provide its patients with a wide range of dental treatment options and advice aimed at improving oral health.

It is very important to have excellent oral hygiene. This involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly and eating healthily. Therefore, this should help your oral health.

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary dental clinic at least twice per year for a regular dental check-up. At these check-ups, we provide our patients with advice, and look for any problems. If problems are found, we have many treatments available. For example, these include cavity fillings and root canals.

Here at Taradale Dental, we also have some cosmetic treatments available! These include dental implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign™! Many people find that these treatments have a positive impact on their appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, all of our services at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are set in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This ensures transparent and fair pricing.

We hope to see you soon at our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website


[1] Wu, B., Luo, H., Tan, C., Qi, X., Sloan, F. A., Kamer, A. R., Schwartz, M. D., Martinez, M., & Plassman, B. L. (2023). Diabetes, Edentulism, and Cognitive Decline: A 12-Year Prospective Analysis. Journal of Dental Research. (Pre-publication issue). DOI:

[2] NHS. (2023). Diabetes. Available: Last accessed: 17th March 2023.

[3] NHS. (2020). About dementia. Available: Last accessed: 17th March 2023.

[4] Harrison, R. (2023). Diabetes and Toothlessness Together Worsen Cognitive Decline. Available: Last accessed: 17th March 2023.