Beautiful Mouth, Better Memory?

What good is having a dazzling smile if you can't remember what to smile about? Although this isn't exactly the question being asked by interdisciplinary researchers, they will be looking into the possible link between oral health and memory in a potentially groundbreaking new study.

The gerontologists and dentistry experts behind the investigation don't yet know if our mouth effects our memory or vice versa, but with the long-established connection between oral health and various other medical concerns-from heart disease to diabetes-the conceivable association is a logical one to probe.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the new study will review existing data-some of which has shown a link between dental troubles and lower brain function-while further examining a relationship between ongoing cognitive capacity and oral health. The researchers are hopeful that they may also discover strategies for improving cognitive function via dental health.

"Out of this we are hopeful to have more evidence to support the tenet that oral health is also important for cognitive health," said researcher and West Virginia University School of Dentistry dean Dr. Richard Crout, "and to increase our understanding of determinants of oral health among older adults."

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