According to a study at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic, it will be more difficult for women to fight plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease after menopause.
Scientists studied the dental status of 28 postmenopausal women with normal bones and 28 who were taking bisphosphonates therapies for osteoporosis for two years or longer. The women, whose ages were between 51 and 80, received CT scans of their jaws and a complete periodontal check for dental plaque, bleeding and bone loss. They followed oral American Dental Association guidelines for brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist twice a year.
Research found that both groups had high levels of dental plaque that could raise the risk of bone loss in the jawbone or reverse bone mass gained through medication therapies. After menopause, women at risk for osteoporosis are also at risk for gum disease, which affects the bone that anchors the teeth. Over time, dental plaque that accumulates on teeth can lead to periodontal disease. Bone disease and gum disease are different diseases, researchers stressed. Women taking bisphosphonates need also to remove dental plaque to keep their jawbones strong and healthy.
If you’re age 50 or older, make sure to increase your visits to the dentist up to four times a year. Ask Dr. Silva for advice on brushing, flossing, healthy diet and dental visits. He will be able to recommend an oral care regimen that’s appropriate for your needs and health status.