Skip to main content

Dental Carotid Cognitive Study


Periodontal disease, an infection of tissues that hold teeth in place, is associated with several conditions, such as atherosclerosis and diabetes, common in older people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment (MCI). These individuals are also prone to poor oral hygiene and dental health, which, if untreated, worsens inflammation-mediated brain and nervous system function and accelerates progression to dementia. Asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis (ACAS) may have a strong association with MCI. This study examines the effects of intensive therapy for periodontal disease on cognition in high-risk older people with ACAS. 

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
60 Years 100 Years All No
April 8, 2019
October 31, 2021

  • Body Mass Index of 18-35
  • Mild to moderate periodontal disease
  • Mild to moderate cognitive impairment
  • Detectable carotid plaque and carotid artery stenosis less than 70 percent
  • Able to perform prescribed dental hygiene 

  • Inability to provide informed consent or to perform cognitive and other research testing
  • Prior stroke, depression, or neurological or psychiatric disease that would affect cognitive testing, participation, and compliance with the research study
  • Chronic treatment with systemic corticosteroids or other systemic immunosuppressive drugs or drugs that would affect the dental treatments in the study
  • Need for essential dental care (e.g., treatment for grossly decayed teeth, broken teeth, dental abscesses, peri-apical infections, other dental infections)
  • Inability to perform FDG-PET brain scan due to renal disease
  • Receiving anticoagulant therapy at time of dental treatment or with a bleeding disorder/other diseases that may interfere with dental therapy

This pilot study examines the hypothesis that intensive treatment of periodontal disease in older people with MCI and ACAS will lessen their cognitive decline by reducing oral microbial-mediated inflammation that contributes to dementia. The aims are to determine the effects of intensive vs. standard treatment for periodontal disease on cognitive function and quality of life and to determine the potential mechanisms mediating these effects.

Participants receiving intensive treatment will have gingival scaling and root planing, plus oral hygiene instruction. Additional sessions will be added as necessary to address remaining problems and treat inflammation and bacteria overgrowth. Each participant will be instructed to use half of a capful of 0.12% chlorhexidine twice a day during active treatment, including 2 weeks beyond the treatment visit.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
University of Maryland - Administrative Center
Baltimore Maryland 21201 Recruiting Kimberlly A Nordstrom, CCRC

University of Maryland, Baltimore

  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • Baltimore VA Medical Center

Name Role Affiliation
Kimberlly Nordstrom, CCRC Study Director University of Maryland, College Park

Name Phone Email
Laila Anthony, BS 410-605-7000


Treatment of Periodontitis to Prevent Dementia in Older Adults With Asymptomatic Carotid Artery Stenosis and Mild Cognitive Impairment