Tooth loss may be a modifiable risk factor for memory disorders, but the causal relationship has not been evaluated sufficiently.
This 5-year prospective cohort study investigated the effect of tooth loss on the development of mild memory impairment (MMI) among the elderly.
Data are from the baseline and follow-up examinations of 2,335 community residents who were cognitively intact at baseline. The number of remaining teeth at baseline was classified as zero, 1–8, 9–16, 17–24, and 25–32. The main outcome for the analysis was the development of MMI at follow-up.
After adjustment for potential confounding factors in multivariable logistic regression analysis, the odds ratio of per 1 tooth loss at baseline was 1.02 (95% confidence interval, 1.00–1.03). The odds ratio of edentulism for MMI was 2.39 (1.48–3.86) compared to 25–32 teeth. The odds ratio of becoming edentulous compared to retaining 1–8 teeth in the 1–8 teeth group at baseline was 4.68 (1.50–14.58).
Tooth loss predicts the development of MMI among the elderly.