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West Des Moines Dentist on Link between Dementia and Chewing Ability

Bone and joint problems can occur with old age. As medical science continues to keep people alive for longer amounts of time, more health issues will become increasingly frequent. Exercise commonly combats some of the effects of aging, but no cure-all exists for ailments experienced during old age. Many people commonly assume that dementia only affects elderly people, but dementia can affect people of various ages.

Brain damage caused by a stroke can leave younger patients with dementia or dementia-like symptoms. Recent research focused on determining a link between dementia development and maintained chewing ability. Your West Des Moines dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, discusses the recent findings linking dementia and chewing ability.

How Does Dementia Affect the Brain?

People suffering from dementia typically cannot recall dates, times, or even the names of their family members. Dementia does not receive the label of disease, but instead, remains classified as a syndrome. Certain disease like Alzheimer’s can lead to dementia development. As previously discussed, brain damage can also lead to dementia. Often, younger patients experience dementia due to a stroke or seizure which could prevent oxygen from reaching the brain for an extended and dangerous period.

How does Chewing Ability Impact Brain Health?

Many people remain unaware that chewing actually increases blood flow to the brain. A recent study conducted by the Baylor School of Medicine measured the effects of gum chewing on the scores of mathematics examinations. The study noted that students whom reported regular gum chewing scored higher on their exams than other students. The researchers concluded that the increase of blood flow resulted in increased mental activity.

In order to determine the link between dementia and chewing ability, Swedish researches studied 557 elderly subjects. The study determined that patients whom could eat apples or other hard foods showed fewer signs of an increased risk for dementia development. The study also determined that the ability to chew held more importance than the means of chewing. They noted that subjects who wore dentures and still possessed the ability to eat hard foods remained at equal risk for dementia development as those subject with natural teeth or dental implants. If the ability to eat hard foods remains, then lower dementia development risks result.

Schedule Your Visit to Help Maintain Chewing Ability

Interested in learning more about maintaining chewing ability? At Valley Ridge Family Dental, we provide comprehensive dental care for the whole family. Contact our 50266 family dental office by calling (515) 223-9764 to schedule an appointment today. We welcome patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, Urbandale, and the surrounding Des Moines metro communities.


MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm