DNA damage contributes to brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the factors stimulating DNA repair to stave off functional decline remain obscure. We show that HDAC1 modulates OGG1-initated 8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG) repair in the brain. HDAC1-deficient mice display age-associated DNA damage accumulation and cognitive impairment. HDAC1 stimulates OGG1, a DNA glycosylase known to remove 8-oxoG lesions that are associated with transcriptional repression. HDAC1 deficiency causes impaired OGG1 activity, 8-oxoG accumulation at the promoters of genes critical for brain function, and transcriptional repression. Moreover, we observe elevated 8-oxoG along with reduced HDAC1 activity and downregulation of a similar gene set in the 5XFAD mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Notably, pharmacological activation of HDAC1 alleviates the deleterious effects of 8-oxoG in aged wild-type and 5XFAD mice. Our work uncovers important roles for HDAC1 in 8-oxoG repair and highlights the therapeutic potential of HDAC1 activation to counter functional decline in brain aging and neurodegeneration.