Association between Periodontal Disease and Cognitive Impairment in Adults

Najwane Said-Sadier, Batoul Sayegh, Raymond Farah, Linda Abou Abbas, Rania Dweik, Norina Tang, David M. Ojcius*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Periodontitis is a severe oral infection that can contribute to systemic inflammation. A large body of evidence suggests a role for systemic inflammation in the initiation of neurodegenerative disease. This systematic review synthesized data from observational studies to investigate the association between periodontitis and neuroinflammation in adults. Methods and materials: A systematic literature search of PubMed, Web of Science, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) was performed for studies published from the date of inception up to September 2021. Search terms for the exposure “oral disease” and outcome “dementia”, “neuroinflammation” and “cognitive decline” were used. Study selection and data extraction were independently undertaken by two reviewers. The final eligible articles were included only if the exposure is periodontitis and the outcome is cognitive impairment or dementia or a topic related to this condition, and if the study was conducted in an adult population. The quality and risk of bias were assessed by Newcastle Ottawa Scale (NOS). Qualitative synthesis was used to narratively synthesize the results. Six cohort studies, three cross-sectional studies, and two case-control studies met the inclusion criteria. These eleven studies were only narratively synthesized. Meta-analysis was not performed due to the methodological heterogeneity of the studies. Results: The results of included studies show that chronic periodontitis patients with at least eight years of exposure are at higher risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia. Oral health measures such as gingival inflammation, attachment loss, probing depth, bleeding on probing, and alveolar bone loss are associated with cognitive impairment. The reduction of epidermal growth factor (EGF), interleukin 8 (IL-8), interferon γ-induced protein 10 (IP-10), and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) in addition to over expression of interleukin 1-β (IL-1β) are significant in patients suffering from cognitive decline with pre-existing severe periodontitis. Conclusions: All the included studies show evidence of an association between periodontitis and cognitive impairment or dementia and Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Nonetheless, the mechanisms responsible for the association between periodontitis and dementia are still unclear and warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4707
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 07 03 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • antibodies
  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia
  • inflammatory biomarkers
  • oral pathogens
  • periodontitis
  • systematic review
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cognitive Dysfunction/epidemiology
  • Chronic Periodontitis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Adult


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