Neuroinflammation: A Distal Consequence of Periodontitis

X. Li, M. Kiprowska, T. Kansara, P. Kansara, P. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Periodontitis, a chronic, inflammatory disease, induces systemic inflammation and contributes to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. The precise etiology of the most common neurodegenerative disorders, such as sporadic Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases and multiple sclerosis (AD, PD, and MS, respectively), remains to be revealed. Chronic neuroinflammation is a well-recognized component of these disorders, and evidence suggests that systemic inflammation is a possible stimulus for neuroinflammation development. Systemic inflammation can lead to deleterious consequences on the brain if the inflammation is sufficiently severe or if the brain shows vulnerabilities due to genetic predisposition, aging, or neurodegenerative diseases. It has been proposed that periodontal disease can initiate or contribute to the AD pathogenesis through multiple pathways, including key periodontal pathogens. Dysbiotic oral bacteria can release bacterial products into the bloodstream and eventually cross the brain-blood barrier; these bacteria can also cause alterations to gut microbiota that enhance inflammation and potentially affect brain function via the gut–brain axis. The trigeminal nerve has been suggested as another route for connecting oral bacterial products to the brain. PD and MS are often preceded by gastrointestinal symptoms or aberrant gut microbiome composition, and alterations in the enteric nervous system accompany the disease. Clinical evidence has suggested that patients with periodontitis are at a higher risk of developing PD and MS. This nexus among the brain, periodontal disease, and systemic inflammation heralds new ways in which microglial cells, the main innate immune cells, and astrocytes, the crucial regulators of innate and adaptive immune responses in the brain, contribute to brain pathology. Currently, the lack of understanding of the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration is hindering treatment development. However, we may prevent this pathogenesis by tackling one of its possible contributors (periodontitis) for systemic inflammation through simple preventive oral hygiene measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1449
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • dysbiosis
  • inflammation
  • neurodegeneration
  • oral hygiene
  • oral microbiome
  • periodontal disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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