Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 2103–2109 | Cite as

Periodontitis, tooth loss and cognitive functions among older adults

  • Helena NilssonEmail author
  • Johan Sanmartin Berglund
  • Stefan Renvert
Original Article



This study aims to evaluate the potential association between periodontitis, the number of teeth and cognitive functions in a cohort of older adults in Sweden.

Material and methods

In total, 775 individuals from 60 to 99 years of age were selected for the study. A clinical and radiographic examination was performed. The number of teeth and prevalence of periodontal pockets and bone loss was calculated and categorised. Cognitive functions were assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and clock test. The education level was obtained from a questionnaire. Data were analysed using chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regression.


Age and gender were associated with the prevalence of bone loss. Age and education were associated with lower number of teeth. Gender was also associated with the presence of pockets. The multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated a statistically significant association between prevalence of bone loss, the number of teeth and the outcome on MMSE test. This association remained even after adjustment for age, education and gender. Tooth loss was also associated with lower outcome on clock test. Presence of periodontal pockets ≥ 5 mm was not associated with cognitive test outcome.


A history of periodontitis and tooth loss may be of importance for cognitive functions among older adults.

Clinical relevance

Diseases with and inflammatory profile may have an impact on cognitive decline.


Dementia Epidemiology Mild cognitive impairment Periodontal diseases and tooth loss 



We are grateful to the participants, the participating counties and municipalities.


The work was supported by the Region Halland, Sweden, Southern Health Care Region, Sweden, and the Swedish Dental Society. The Swedish National Study on Ageing and Care, SNAC (, is financially supported by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden, and the participating county councils, municipalities and university departments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the regional research ethics committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maxillofacial UnitHalland HospitalHalmstadSweden
  2. 2.Blekinge Institute of TechnologyKarlskronaSweden
  3. 3.Department of Clinical SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden
  4. 4.School of Health and SocietyKristianstad UniversityKristianstadSweden
  5. 5.School of Dental ScienceTrinity CollegeDublinIreland

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