Women who brush their teeth regularly could keep their memory sharp later in life, finds study from the University of California.
Researchers found that elderly women who brushed their teeth less than once a day were up to 65 per cent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed three times a day.
"Not only does the state of your mind predict what kind of oral health habits you practise, it may be that your oral health habits influence whether or not you get dementia," the Daily Mail quoted Annlia Paganini-Hill, the study's lead author, as saying.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, tracked the health of almost 5,500 residents at a Californian retirement community from 1992 to 2010.
Some 18 years later, 1,145 of the original group had signs of dementia. Of 78 women who brushed their teeth less than once a day in 1992, 21 had dementia by 2010, about one case per 3.7 women.
In comparison, among those who brushed at least once a day, closer to one in every 4.5 women developed dementia - a 65 per cent greater chance of the disease.
The University of California researchers said that while they hadn't proved dental decay could fuel dementia, the topic warrants more research.