As women enter the menopausal stage, they are at a higher risk for bone fractures, but according to a new study at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, they “also may be at a higher risk for gum disease as well.” It is stated that further investigations may need to occur to finalize some of the correlations, but the researchers did see a direct link between postmenopausal women and gum disease issues.
During menopause, estrogen levels drop, and lower estrogen levels are said to “impact the mouth and cause inflammatory changes in the body that can lead to gingivitis, a precursor to gum disease.” If left untreated, the end result is unfortunately tooth loss. Wanting to further research the correlation between gum disease and post-menopausal women, the researchers studied 191 women between the ages of 51 and 80 who had gone through menopause in the last ten years. The women were not smokers or on hormonal replacement therapy or any other medications for the past five years. What they found was that the strongest sign of gum disease was in fact bone loss scores. The scores of this analysis were also balanced with the factors of “weight, height, previous bone fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, smoking habits, diabetes, and other factors.”
So what does this mean for women going through menopause? Having regular dental checkups can help postmenopausal women be aware of changes in their oral health due to the effects of menopause.