Oral Health and Brain Injury: Causal or Casual Relation?

Cerebrovasc Dis Extra. 2018;8(1):1-15. doi: 10.1159/000484989. Epub 2018 Jan 9.


Background: To systematically review the current literature investigating the association between oral health and acquired brain injury.

Methods: A structured search strategy was applied to PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and CENTRAL electronic databases until March 2017 by 2 independent reviewers. The preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis guidelines were used for systematic review.

Results: Even though the objective was to assess the association between oral health and acquired brain injury, eligible studies focused solely on different forms of stroke and stroke subtypes. Stroke prediction was associated with various factors such as number of teeth, periodontal conditions (even after controlling for confounding factors), clinical attachment loss, antibody levels to Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and Prevotella intermedia. The literature showed no consensus on the possible association between gingivitis and stroke. Patients with stroke generally had poorer oral hygiene practices and oral health. Dental prophylaxis and professional intervention reduced the incidence of stroke.

Conclusions: Overall, oral health and stroke were related. Periodontitis and tooth loss were independently associated with stroke. However, prevention and timely intervention may reduce the risk of stroke. Stroke was the main cerebral lesion studied in the literature, with almost no publications on other brain lesions.

Keywords: Brain injury; Cerebrovascular disorders; Oral hygiene; Oro-dental condition; Periodontitis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans / isolation & purification
  • Bacteroidaceae Infections / microbiology
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Dental Prophylaxis / standards
  • Female
  • Gingivitis / complications
  • Gingivitis / microbiology
  • Gingivitis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Oral Health / trends*
  • Oral Hygiene / standards
  • Pasteurellaceae Infections / microbiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications
  • Periodontal Diseases / microbiology*
  • Periodontal Diseases / pathology
  • Periodontitis / complications
  • Periodontitis / microbiology
  • Prevotella intermedia / isolation & purification
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Tooth Loss / epidemiology