Whether or not a person struggles to chew hard food could be an indication of their risk of developing cognitive impairments later in life.
This is the discovery of a new study by scientists at the Karolinska Institutet and Karlstad University, who looked at tooth loss, chewing ability and cognitive function in 557 over-77s.
It was found that those who had difficulty eating foodstuffs such as apples were more likely to develop health problems like dementia than their counterparts who did not.
This was the case whether or not the study participants had their own teeth or relied on dentures and when researchers took into account factors like sex, age, education and pre-existing cognitive issues.
It may be that having difficulties with chewing restricts blood flow to the brain and causes the decline of cells over time.
NHS figures state there are some 570,000 people living with dementia in England, although this number could double within 30 years.
Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.