Open Access Research article

Oral and dental health in Huntington‘s disease - an observational study

Carsten Saft1*, Jürgen E Andrich1, Thomas Müller1, Julia Becker2 and Jochen Jackowski2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Huntington-Center NRW, St. Josef Hospital, Ruhr University, Gudrunstrasse 56, Bochum, 44791, Germany

2 Department of Oral Surgery and Dental Emergency Care, Dental School, Faculty of Health, Witten/Herdecke University, Witten, Germany

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BMC Neurology 2013, 13:114  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-114

Published: 3 September 2013



Only a few case reports and case series dealing with oral and dental health care are available in literature until now. The aim of the present pilot study was to determine the status of dental health in comparison to matched controls and to heighten the neurologists’ and dentists’ awareness of the oral aspects of the disease.


42 Huntington’s disease (HD) participants were scored according to the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale. The dental status was assessed by using the well established score for decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) and the dental plaque score (Silness-Loe plaque index).


Compared to controls HD participants showed significantly more decayed teeth and more plaques in both plaque indices. A higher motor impairment and a lower functional status of the patients lead to a worsening in dental status.


Possible reasons for our findings are discussed. Apart from local oral complications general complications may also occur. Thus, as a consequence, we would encourage patients, caregivers, neurologists, and the dentists to ensure regular preventive dental examinations and dental treatments of individuals with Huntington’s disease even in the premanifest stage of this disease.