Edentulism Predicts Cognitive Decline in the US Health and Retirement Cohort Study.

TitleEdentulism Predicts Cognitive Decline in the US Health and Retirement Cohort Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsJones, JA, Moss, K, Finlayson, TL, Preisser, JS, Weintraub, JA
JournalJ Dent Res
ISSN Number1544-0591


p>This longitudinal cohort study examines if 1) cognitive decline varies by birth cohort, adjusting for covariates, and 2) edentulism and nonuse of dental care predict 10-y cognitive decline (2008-2018). The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) features a representative sample of US adults over age 50. Eligibility criteria included having cognitive interview data available and responding to the question, "Have you lost all of your upper and lower natural permanent teeth?" at 2+ time points between 2006 and 2018. Use of dental care in the past 2 y was assessed. Linear mixed models for repeated measures estimated the trajectories of mean cognition over time for the birth cohorts, adjusted for baseline cognition, dentition status, dental care use, and covariates (demographic characteristics, health behaviors, and medical conditions). Cohort-by-time interaction terms were included to assess if cognitive decline varied by birth cohort. Ten-year change in cognition status (measured by HRS Cogtot27)-categorized as dementia (<7); cognitive impairment, not demented (7-11) 7≤Cogtot27<12; and normal (≥12)-was also investigated according to birth cohort, dentition status, and dental care use. Mean (SD) baseline age was 63.4 (10.1) y ( = 22,728). Older birth cohorts had greater cognitive decline than younger cohorts. Linear mixed-model estimates and 95% confidence intervals for protective factors for cognitive decline included higher baseline cognition (HRS Cogtot27) (0.49; 0.48-0.50), use of dental care in the past 2 y (0.17; 0.10-0.23), and covariates such as greater household wealth and being married. Risk increased with being edentulous (-0.42; -0.56 to -0.28), history of stroke or diabetes, less education, Medicaid recipient, current smoker, loneliness, and poor/fair self-rated health. Edentulism and irregular dental care are among important predictors of cognitive decline. Tooth retention and regular dental care throughout life appear to be important for maintaining oral and cognitive health.

Citation Key13344
PubMed ID37314011