Battling Periodontitis in Postmenopausal Women

Lack of Estrogen: Osteoporosis and Tooth Loss

The lack of estrogen in menopausal women places them at risk of osteoporosis as they age. Bones lose their supply of natural circulating estrogen hormones that lead to porous and weakened bones, liable to fracture. As countermeasure, some women get estrogen therapy with supplements of calcium and vit D.

It has been known, though, that menopausal women also have higher rates of periodontal disease. The condition can contribute to destruction of jaw bone and lost of teeth. Will estrogen therapy also help counter these effects as they do with osteoporosis?

A new research from the University of Buffalo revealed that the therapy can help. Women over 50 treated with estrogen for osteoporosis are 44% less likely to have severe periodontitis than women who did not receive the treatment.

Although previous studies have investigated the relationship between osteoporosis and tooth loss, few have examined the link between estrogen therapy and periodontitis, a disease that can ultimately lead to tooth loss and destruction of the jaw bone. The University of Buffalo study helped confirm the results of earlier trials that hormonal treatment can prevent both osteoporosis and gum disease.

The trial was conducted at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil, and published in the July issue of Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society. Five hundred postmenopausal women joined, 356 were diagnosed with osteoporosis, and 113 agreed to have estrogen therapy. Those who did not agree to the treatment were also monitored. It concluded that those who had the therapy had less periodontal probing depth and clinical attachment loss and less gum bleeding. Also, showing lesser prevalence of periodontal disease was found in those who have a higher family income and have more dental visitations.

While estrogen therapy’s role may be significant in menopausal women, it carries the potential risk of heart disease and breast cancer, More studies need to show just how prevention and treatment of osteoporosis may also help to control periodontal disease and tooth loss.

Understanding Postmenopausal Women

Smile Art in Seattle understands the special dental issues of women over 50 and beyond. Know that at this age range you need to keep your appointments more faithfully so we can look after your teeth and gum health more closely. Happy smiles!