Case-specific characteristics of pink teeth in dental autopsies – A systematic review

Ademir Franco, Murilo Navarro de Oliveira, Lorenna Keren Gomes-Lima, Vinicius Henrique Ferreira Pereira-de-Oliveira, Raquel Porto Alegre Valente Franco, Cauane Blumenberg, Rhonan Ferreira Silva, Ricardo Henrique Alves da Silva, Irina Makeeva, Paulo Cesar Freitas Santos-Filho, Luiz Renato Paranhos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The cadaveric alterations that derive from the decomposition of the human body are often investigated and examined in medical autopsies together with any other evidence of thanatological interest. This study aimed to systematically review case-specific characteristics of dental autopsies that reported the pink tooth phenomenon (PTP). The review was performed in October/2018 and followed PRISMA and Cochrane guidelines. Seven databases were searched as primary study sources (PubMed, Scopus, LILACS, SciELO, Web of Science, Science Direct and Embase) and three (OATD, Open Grey and Open Thesis) were searched for "grey literature". Only descriptive studies were collected, namely case reports and case series. The risk of bias among the studies was assessed with The Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal tool. From each case, the sex and age of the victims were registered, together with the place of body recovery, time of death, cadaveric status, cause of death, and number and position of pink teeth. Additionally, a supplemental quantitative analysis was conducted within a sampled subgroup. Poisson regression with robust variance was used to analyze relative risks of presenting pink teeth according to age and tooth position. Eleven studies out of 1004 were eligible. In total 71 cases of cadavers with pink teeth were reported. Two (2.81%) victims had unknown sex, while 17 (23.95%) were females and 52 (73.24%) were males. The victims were aged between 4 and 85 years (mean age 31.13 ± 13.32). Dental autopsies registered 331 pink teeth (163 anterior, 87 premolars and 81 molars). The age did not influence on presenting an additional pink tooth, regardless of tooth position (p > 0.05). Forensic dentists must be aware of pink teeth in dental autopsies. This is an unspecific phenomenon and must not be misinterpreted in medico-legal investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101869
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Autopsy
  • Forensic dentistry
  • Pink tooth
  • Thanatology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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