CDA Essentials 2017 • Volume 4 • Issue 7

N ews and E vents The study, conducted in Sweden between 2007 and 2015, merged cognitive- and dental health-related data from the Swedish Dementia Registry (created in 2007 to “improve the quality of diagnostics workup, treatment, and care of dementia”) and the Swedish Dental Health Register. Sweden’s public dental health care system, which also covers preventive care, was established in 1974. “When a patient visits the dentist, a treatment code in combination with a diagnostic code is registered. This information … is also reported to the Swedish Dental Health Register,” the study authors explain. Combining both databases, researchers were able to highlight dental health and care patterns as they relate to the age at dementia diagnosis, type of dementia, date of diagnosis, sex, living conditions, medications, support from community, dates of each dental care visit, types of dental interventions or procedures, number of remaining teeth, and cause and date of death (if applicable). “Our findings showed a remarkable decline in the number of dental care visits after dementia was diagnosed,” researchers say. “Although most individuals were drug naïve and newly diagnosed at the time of registration, the ones with worse cognitive status at baseline and more severe dementia with faster progression over time had a larger decline in dental care utilization.” It is interesting to note that old age on its own is not is a determining factor leading to fewer dental visits among Swedish elders, as previous studies conducted in Sweden showed that seniors over 80 years of age average 3.3 dental visits per year. The study authors were able to determine the types of dementia, combined with the patient’s medical history and living conditions, that are associated with less favourable dental prognostics: ❘  In individuals with any form of dementia, oral health declines as the severity of cognitive impairment increases, which could be explained by a “reduced salivary flow, taste change, less tooth brushing, use of high-energy food supplements and syrup-based medications, polypharmacy, physical incapability, and even rejection of help from others.” ❘  The faster decline in dental care utilization was observed in people with either mixed dementia or Parkinson disease dementia. ❘  Living conditions had a significant impact on dental care utilization, as those living alone or receiving home care experienced a more drastic decline in accessing care. ❘  Older patients showed a more rapid decline in their number of remaining teeth, and so did patients with more severe cognitive impairment, those with vascular dementia, and those on a higher number of medications. a Reference 1. Fereshtehnejad S-M, Garcia-Ptacek S, Religa D, Holmer J, Buhlin K, Eriksdotter M, Sandborgh-Englund G. Dental care utilization in patients with different types of dementia: A longitudinal nationwide study of 58,037 individuals. AlzheimersDement . 2017 Jul 8. pii: S1552- 5260(17)30233-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2017.05.004. DEMENTIA IMPACTS DENTAL CARE UTILIZATION: Results from a Longitudinal Study in Sweden An 8-year study 1 using data on over 58,000 individuals newly diagnosed with dementia shows a significant decline in dental care utilization following diagnosis. The article is available at: article/S1552-5260(17)30233- 9/fulltext