As the population continues to live longer and longer, an increase in certain medical conditions could occur. More patients require hip and joint replacements each year as their body simply wears down with age. Additionally, many other patients notice a loss in mental capacity as they age. Could there be a link between oral health and maintaining mental function later in life? The dentists from Riverside Dental Group developed a short, true/false quiz to inform and educate patients about the potential link between chewing ability and dementia.

Dementia and Chewing Ability Quiz

Label the following statements as either true or false

  • Dementia is a disease
  • Chewing increases blood flow to the brain
  • Maintaining natural teeth provides the only means to effectively chew hard foods

Dementia and Chewing Ability Answer Key

The first statement is – false. Currently, dementia falls under the category of syndrome, as opposed to disease. However, certain diseases like Alzheimer’s can lead to dementia development. Brain damage caused by a stroke can also cause dementia in patients. Elderly patients do not make up the entire population of people affected. Dementia affects the cognitive function of patients of various ages. Common mental issues involved with dementia include the inability to recall dates and times, decreased short-term memory, and the inability to remember directions and street names.

The second statement is – true. Blood flow contributes to improved mental function. A study conducted by the Baylor School of Medicine noted that students whom reported regularly chewing gum typically scored higher on math exams than patients whom refrained from gum chewing. Their evidence supported arguments that blood flow increased mental activity and functionality.

The third statement is – false. Swedish researchers studied 557 elderly people to determine the role chewing ability played in increasing the risk of developing dementia. After conducting their study, they determined that people with the ability to chew harder foods like apples maintained mental function at a higher rate than those patients whom could not chew hard foods. However, the study also noted that some patients with the ability to chew hard foods wore prosthetic replacement tooth options like dentures.

Some dentures patients report an inability to chew apples, but the statement lacks absolution. Although dentures can replace teeth reliably, dental implants provide a reliable, long-lasting solution to tooth replacement and can even promote jawbone growth. Regardless of the means of chewing, maintaining the ability to chew hard foods remains paramount to reducing the risk of dementia.

Evaluate Your Chewing Ability

Are you interested in learning more about how to maintain chewing ability or replacement tooth options? Riverside Dental Group provides comprehensive dental care for our patients in our 92504 dentist office. Contact us by calling (951) 689-5031 to schedule your appointment today. We welcome patients from Riverside and all neighboring communities.