Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 2463–2474 | Cite as

Clinical periodontal variables in patients with and without dementia—a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Alejandra MaldonadoEmail author
  • Oliver Laugisch
  • Walter Bürgin
  • Anton Sculean
  • Sigrun Eick



Considering the increasing number of elderly people, dementia has gained an important role in today’s society. Although the contributing factors for dementia have not been fully understood, chronic periodontitis (CP) seems to have a possible link to dementia.


To conduct a systematic review including meta-analysis in order to assess potential differences in clinical periodontal variables between patients with dementia and non-demented individuals.


The following focused question was evaluated: is periodontitis associated with dementia? Electronic searches in two databases, MEDLINE and EMBASE, were conducted. Meta-analysis was performed with the collected data in order to find a statistically significant difference in clinical periodontal variables between the group of dementia and the cognitive normal controls.


Forty-two articles remained for full text reading. Finally, seven articles met the inclusion criteria and only five studies provided data suitable for meta-analysis. Periodontal probing depth (PPD), bleeding on probing (BOP), gingival bleeding index (GBI), clinical attachment level (CAL), and plaque index (PI) were included as periodontal variables in the meta-analysis. Each variable revealed a statistically significant difference between the groups. In an attempt to reveal an overall difference between the periodontal variables in dementia patients and non-demented individuals, the chosen variables were transformed into units that resulted in a statistically significant overall difference (p < 0.00001).


The current findings indicate that compared to systemically healthy individuals, demented patients show significantly worse clinical periodontal variables. However, further epidemiological studies including a high numbers of participants, the use of exact definitions both for dementia and chronic periodontitis and adjusted for cofounders is warranted.

Clinical relevance

These findings appear to support the putative link between CP and dementia. Consequently, the need for periodontal screening and treatment of elderly demented people should be emphasized.


Alzheimer’s disease Dementia Periodontitis Clinical periodontal variables 



This study was supported by the European Commission (FP7-Health 2012-306029 “TRIGGER”).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Periodontology, School of Dental MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Research Section, School of Dental MedicineUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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