Association between cognitive health and masticatory conditions: a descriptive study of the national database of the universal healthcare system in Japan

Aging (Albany NY). 2021 Mar 19;13(6):7943-7952. doi: 10.18632/aging.202843. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Abstract

Cognitive health is subject to decline with increasing numbers of lost teeth which impacts mastication. This study is a descriptive data analysis of the association between masticatory and cognitive conditions using a large database. We obtained the dental and medical records from Japan's universal healthcare system (UHCS) from the national database in 2017. The data from 94% of the Japanese population aged 65 and over is included. It is inclusive of diagnostic codes for various types of cognitive impairment, as well as dental treatment records from 2012 to 2017. The cognitive impairment group was compared to those without a diagnosis of cognitive impairment. Crude odds ratio between loss of mastication with natural teeth (exposure) and cognitive impairments (outcome) were compared. Patients who have lost masticatory function are likely to have cognitive impairment with an odds ratio of 1.89 (p<0.0001) for early elderly (aged 65-75) and 1.33 (p<0.0001) for advanced elderly (over 75). Patients who are edentulous and function with complete dentures are likely to have cognitive impairment with an odds ratio of 2.38 (p<0.0001) and 1.38 (p<0.0001), respectively. The data shows a convincing and significant result of an association between cognitive health and oral health, related to masticatory conditions.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; cognitive decline; dementia; descriptive study; mastication.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mastication / physiology*
  • Mouth, Edentulous / epidemiology*
  • Mouth, Edentulous / physiopathology
  • Oral Health
  • Prevalence
  • Universal Health Care