Mind your teeth—The relationship between mastication and cognition

Roxane A.F. Weijenberg*, Suzanne Delwel, Bach Van Ho, Claar D. van der Maarel-Wierink, Frank Lobbezoo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article explores the multifactorial relationship between mastication and cognition, with a focus on dementia. Older persons, especially those with dementia, are at great risk of suffering from oral health problems such as orofacial pain and loss of natural teeth. A possible explanation could be that the cognitive and motor impairments resulting from dementia cause a decrease in self-care and as such, a worsening of oral health. An alternative explanation is that cognition and oral health influence each other. Animal studies show that a decrease in masticatory activity, for example, due to a soft diet or loss of teeth, causes memory loss and neuronal degeneration. The relationship between mastication and cognition has also been researched in human studies, but a cause-effect relationship has not been proven. It is likely that multiple factors play a role in this relationship, such as self-care, nutrition, stress and pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-7
Number of pages6
JournalGerodontology
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date27 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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Weijenberg, R. A. F., Delwel, S., Ho, B. V., van der Maarel-Wierink, C. D., & Lobbezoo, F. (2019). Mind your teeth—The relationship between mastication and cognition. Gerodontology, 36(1), 2-7. https://doi.org/10.1111/ger.12380