Does Osteoporosis Influence Periodontitis Risk in Postmenopausal Women?

Is there an association between the low bone mineral density that occurs due to osteoporosis or osteopenia, and women’s risk of certain dental conditions?

Dental office with equipmentA team led by researchers in the Department of Health at Feira de Santana State University in Brazil set out to explore this question. Their work, “Osteoporosis/osteopenia as an independent factor associated with periodontitis in postmenopausal women: a case-control study,” was published in September 2012 online ahead of print in Osteoporosis International.

In particular, the researchers examined the risk of periodontitis in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis or osteopenia. They also explored whether taking medications for osteoporosis, or the amount of tooth loss experienced by women, influences the association between bone and dental health.

Data on 521 postmenopausal women (all aged 50 or older) in Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil was used in the study.  Women’s bone mineral density was measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Additionally, the women were given an examination for periodontitis. The results of these exams were used to determine an association between periodontitis and low bone mineral density due to osteoporosis or osteopenia. The study authors also gathered information on the osteoporosis medications women took, their sociodemographic characteristics, and their lifestyle habits to account for any other influencing factors.

The results showed that women with osteoporosis/osteopenia had twice the risk of developing periodontitis as women who had normal bone mineral density. The association was still significant after researchers controlled for factors such as income, last visit to a dental office, age, and whether or not the women smoked. Additionally, the association was higher in women who were not taking osteoporosis medications, and in women who had 10 or more remaining teeth.

The researchers conclude that their study shows an association between osteoporosis/osteopenia and periodontitis in postmenopausal women, and that the use of osteoporosis medications and the amount of tooth loss experienced influences this association.

Updated on: 08/25/16
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