A visit to the dentist could identify one risk factor for strokes and other conditions that could necessitate home care, according to new research.
Scientists used the Veterans Administration's normative aging and dental longitudinal study to identify older men who had been treated by the VA for dental d
isorders like periodontitis.
In data published in the Annals of Neurology, they found that periodontal bone loss, or tooth decay caused by gum disease, was linked with cognitive conditions such as stroke or transient ischemic attack.
They say that the link between periodontitis and the neurological afflictions could be a result of inflammation that causes both, and further research could help define the role of oral diseases.
For now, they say that dental problems could represent a risk factor that older Americans should be mindful of the next time they go in for a check-up.
The Centers for Disease Control report that advanced gum disease as much as 15 percent of American adults, yet only 60 percent of seniors in retirement living communities and other residences have visited a dentist in the past year.