Indicators for root caries in Danish persons with recently diagnosed Alzheimer's disease

Birita S. Ellefsen, Douglas E. Morse, Gunhild Waldemar, Poul Holm-Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify indicators of root caries among persons with newly diagnosed Alzheimer's disease (AD). Background: Few studies have investigated dental caries in older adults with AD. Previously we found that persons with AD had significantly more root caries compared to persons with dementia other than AD. Methods: Participants were recruited from two university hospital clinics in Copenhagen, Denmark. A team of neurologists/geriatricians carried out the diagnostic screening. The study included an interview, oral examination and medical records. Results: We evaluated potential indicators of root decay across subjects with 3+ decayed surfaces vs. <3 decayed surfaces. Variables associated with increased odds of root caries were age over 80 years, 2+ decayed coronal surfaces and 5+ filled root surfaces. Among the social variables, living with someone was associated with a nearly 70% reduction in the odds of having 3+ surfaces of untreated caries. Discussion: Root caries is highly prevalent among individuals with new AD and there is still a strong need for active assessment of and attention to oral problems in persons with AD. Our findings document that recently diagnosed AD cases with multiple coronal caries lesions are at elevated risk of having more root caries. Also persons 81+ years and those with multiple root fillings are more likely to have numerous untreated root lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • elderly
  • gerodontology
  • root caries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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