A study completed by the University College London has shown that tooth loss could be an early indicator of physical and cognitive decline in older adults. Results of the study were published in January in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

The study involved 3,166 adults in England who were age 60 or older. It showed that adults with no teeth showed a more rapid decline in their walking speeds and memory than people who retained all their teeth.

According to the study, the subjects with no teeth performed 10 percent worse in both walking and speed tests. The Findings remained valid even after results were adjusted to account for socioeconomic factors and physical health.

The correlation between poor physical function and memory, and being edentulous was surprisingly stronger in people who were between the ages of 60 and 74 than those who were over the age of 75.

Dr. Georgio Tsakos, who was the lead author in the study, says the results of the study can help physicians identify people who are at increased risk for mental and physical decline.

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