Current Oral Health Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 82–88 | Cite as

Tooth Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Tetsuya GotoEmail author
  • W. Keung Leung
Oral Disease and Nutrition (F Nishimura, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Oral Disease and Nutrition


Purpose of Review

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a major subtype of dementia. Recent cohort studies have demonstrated that loss of masticatory function, periodontitis, and/or tooth loss are risk factors for AD. The present review provides an overview of the existing literature as well as recent evidence regarding the relationship between tooth loss and the onset of AD.

Recent Findings

In the dental field, tooth loss is one of the most relevant factors related to the prevalence of AD. This is important in a progressively elderly population because tooth loss is associated with the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) developing into dementia due to a cascade of neurodegeneration caused by damage to periodontal tissues via the trigeminal nerve, locus coeruleus (LC), and hippocampus. Additionally, periodontal disease and/or the loss of masticatory function are likely to exacerbate factors associated with AD.


Tooth loss in the elderly may cause neurodegeneration and act as a trigger for the progression from MCI to dementia. Moreover, neurodegeneration due to tooth loss is thought to exacerbate the accumulation of AD-specific amyloid-β and phosphorylated tau proteins, which worsen the pathological condition of AD. Although further evidence is needed, novel strategies for avoiding the progression to AD due to tooth loss in the elderly are required.


Tooth loss Alzheimer’s disease Periodontitis Neurodegeneration 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Oral Anatomy and Cell Biology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental SciencesKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan
  2. 2.Periodontology, Faculty of DentistryThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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