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Visiting the dentist may help you to think more clearly in later life, suggests research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, which links oral health with cognitive well-being. The researchers caution, however, that more studies are needed.

According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral health may contribute to heart disease, due to the spread of bacteria, while diabetes and HIV/AIDS can exacerbate oral health problems by reducing the body's resistance to infection.

As the older population continues to expand, oral health and cognition have become important areas of study, with researchers speculating that a common inflammatory pathway may hold the key to a link, if such a link exists.

The authors note that around 36% of people in the US aged over 70 years are living with some degree of cognitive decline. According to the Alzheimer's Association, around 5.4 million people in the US have Alzheimer's disease - the most common form of dementia.

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