DOI: 10.1111/jre.13214 ISSN: 0022-3484

Periodontitis is associated with altered brain structure and function in normal cognition middle‐aged and elderly individuals

Xiaoshu Li, Yufei Tao, Hui Li, Ziang Huang, Yuqing Li, Ziwen Gao, Wanqiu Zhu, Xiaohu Li, Yongqiang Yu
  • Periodontics



Numerous studies have proposed that periodontitis is a potential risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. However, the association between periodontitis and brain normal cognition in aged and elderly individuals (NCs) is unclear. Such a link could provide clues to Alzheimer's disease development and strategies for early prevention.


To explore the associations between periodontal condition and metrics of both brain structure and function among NCs with the help of multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


High‐resolution T1‐weighted structural data, resting‐state functional‐MRI data, and measures of periodontal condition were collected from 40 NCs. Cortical volume, thickness, and area as well as regional homogeneity were calculated with the aid of DPABISurf software. Correlation analyses were then conducted between each imaging metric and periodontal index.


Consistent negative correlations were observed between severity of periodontitis (mild, moderate, severe) and cortical volume, area, and thickness, not only in brain regions that took charge of primary function but also in brain regions associated with advanced cognition behavior. Among participants with mild attachment loss (AL) and a shallow periodontal pocket depth (PPD), periodontal index was positively correlated with most measures of brain structure and function, while among participants with severe AL and deep PPD, periodontal index was negatively correlated with measures of brain structure and function (all p < .005 for each hemisphere).


Our results demonstrate that periodontitis is associated with widespread changes in brain structure and function among middle‐aged and elderly adults without signs of cognitive decline, which might be a potential risk factor for brain damage.

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