Periodontitis increases the risk of dementia

Periodontitis increases the risk of dementia

Relationship between gum disease and dementia

Periodontitis is not only one of the most common chronic diseases of the oral cavity, but also a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, as confirmed in a recent study by a German research team. Treating receding gums early and consistently can reduce the risk of dementia.

Researchers at Greifswald University explored the connection between periodontitis and dementia as part of a current study. People who have chronic gum disease also have a higher risk of developing dementia than people who do not have periodontal disease. The research results were recently published in the journal “Alzheimer’s and Dementia” Presented.

common disease periodontitis

Periodontitis, a permanent inflammation of the supporting system of teeth, is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide. In Germany alone, more than 11 million people suffer from a severe form of periodontitis. After tooth decay, periodontitis is the second most common oral disease.

Consequences of periodontal disease

Untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and impact on overall health. Since the disease is largely painless, it is often recognized and treated late. Researchers liken periodontitis to an iceberg—most of the effects occur incognito.

Dental disease affects overall health

The impact of dental diseases on general health has been researched for decades. Inflammatory gum disease, which afflicts 15 to 45 percent of people in this country, depending on age group, is already associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Researchers at the University Medical Center Greifswald have now confirmed a suspected link between Alzheimer’s and periodontitis.

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Advanced statistics made it possible to prove

“It is very difficult to conduct methodologically meaningful studies on the effects of periodontal disease, a common severe form of gum disease,” said Dr. Christian Schwann from the Polyclinic for Dental Prosthetics, Geriatric Dentistry and Medical Materials Science. Only recently developed statistical models would have made such evidence possible.

medium to strong connection

“For the first time, an association between gum disease treatment and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease was found in a quasi-experimental model of 177 patients from the Greifswald GNI-MED study (Personalized Medicine from the Greifswald Approach) and 409 untreated patients of SHIP study participants. The analysis can be done, ”the dentist explains. Overall, the association between Alzheimer’s and periodontal disease was rated as moderate to strong.

Periodontal disease treatment slows loss of brain matter

The participants’ MRT data served as an indicator of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on the data, individual measurements of Alzheimer’s-specific loss of brain matter can be measured. By comparing different participants, it was possible to show that treatment for periodontitis reduced brain damage.

remarkable results

“These results are remarkable because patients with periodontitis were less than 60 years of age at the time of MRI examination and the observation time between dentistry and MRI examination was an average of 7.3 years for patients”, summarize study co-authors Professor Thomas Kocher and Professor Hans J. Grabe.

Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease through periodontal disease treatment

“Our approach is clearly in the prevention and timely treatment of gum disease, which can be triggered by a large number of microbes, in order to prevent such potentially consequential damage in advance,” Kochhar emphasized.

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According to the researchers, another approach is currently being used American research work tested. The major germ of periodontitis that has migrated to the brain is fought with medicine. “Even in this area, we have to rely on observational studies that simulate a controlled clinical study in the future,” said Dr. Christian dog. Clinical studies with placebo treatment are not possible in this area for ethical and medical reasons. (VB)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.


Diploma-Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • University of Greifswald: The Greifswald study confirms: gum disease increases the risk of dementia – prevention and timely treatment of periodontitis important (published: 04.06.2021),
  • Christian Schwann, Stefan Frenzel, Birt Holtfreiter, et al: Effect of periodontal treatment on preclinical Alzheimer’s disease- results of a trial simulation approach; In: Alzheimer’s and Dementia, 2021,

Important Articles:
This article is for general guidance only and is not to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He cannot take the place of visiting the doctor.

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