Oestrogen therapy has already been credited with helping women manage an array of menopause-related issues. Now a new study suggests that the oestrogen therapy used to treat osteoporosis can lead to healthier teeth and gums. The study outcomes are being published in Menopause.
As oestrogen levels fall during menopause, women become more vulnerable to numerous health issues. Changes in oral health are also common as teeth and gums become more susceptible to disease, which can lead to inflammation, pain, bleeding, and eventually loose or missing teeth.
In the study, 492 postmenopausal Brazilian women aged 50 to 87 years, 113 in osteoporosis treatment and 379 not in treatment, were evaluated to determine whether osteoporosis treatment could help increase the bone mineral density in their jaws and, subsequently, improve overall oral health.
The study found that the rate of occurrence of severe periodontitis was 44% lower in the osteoporosis treatment group than in the untreated group. Treatment consisted of systemic oestrogen alone or oestrogen plus progestin, as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements.
“Osteoporosis can occur throughout the body, including the jaw, and lead to an increased risk of periodontal disease”, says Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, North American Menopause Society Executive Director: “This study demonstrates that oestrogen therapy, which has proven to be effective in preventing bone loss, may also prevent the worsening of tooth and gum disease. All women, but especially those with low oestrogen or on bisphosphonate treatment for osteoporosis, should make good dental care a part of their healthy lifestyles”.