Longitudinal study on oral health in subjects with Alzheimer's disease

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1994 Jan;42(1):57-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1994.tb06074.x.


Objective: To examine longitudinal oral health changes in unmedicated, generally healthy subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and compare them to age- and gender-matched healthy, unmedicated control subjects.

Design: Oral health parameters were evaluated over 2 to 3 years and the results compared between subjects with AD and controls.

Setting: Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Participants: Twenty-one community-dwelling subjects with a clinical diagnosis of AD and 21 age- and gender-matched control subjects. Neither population was being treated for any other systemic condition nor taking any prescription medications.

Measurements: Unstimulated and stimulated major salivary gland flow rates were measured, and gingival, periodontal, dental, and oral mucosal tissues assessed.

Main results: In general, subjects with AD demonstrated decreased salivary flow rates and diminished oral health, but most longitudinal changes in oral health status were not significantly different than controls.

Conclusions: Patients with AD are susceptible to a variety of oral health problems, and progression of AD can lead to a deterioration in oral health and function. These patients require aggressive preventive care to maintain function for as long as possible, which necessitates close cooperation among numerous health care professionals.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / classification
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dental Health Surveys
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health*
  • Primary Prevention
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index