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Four things to know about menopause and periodontal disease

The Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine reports that after menopause, women become more prone to developing periodontal disease.  It’s another byproduct of estrogen deficiency, which can cause bone loss and inflammation.

Here is what The Practice SF takes away from this important research:

  1. Physicians and gynecologists should incorporate dental and periodontal questions into their examinations of patients.  Teeth and gum issues are major signposts of systemic problems and opportunities.  Doctors should ask their patients if they are brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day – and whether patients are experiencing pain, sensitivity and bleeding in their gums.
  2. Women who are evaluating hormone therapy should consider that one of its benefits – protection against bone loss – extends to the bone in the jaw.  Bone loss in the jaw can contribute to periodontal disease.
  3. While osteoporosis drugs have been linked to a few cases of alveolar bone necrosis ( death of bone in the jaw) after extractions or bone surgery, studies indicate that there is little risk and more benefit to this drug therapy when evaluating its impact  on the bone. There is a  bone turnover test that can evaluate the risk for this problem.
  4. Regular dental checkups – not just excellent oral hygiene practices at home – are critically important because they serve as another preventive action.
For Jane Q. Citizen: if your doctor is not asking you questions about your oral health, bring it up in your next examination. Tell your doctors that you want periodontal status to be an aspect of your annual physicals and gynecological exams.

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This post was written by who has written 12 posts on The Practice SF Blog.

Paola Guglielmoni, DDS, MS, is a periodontist and a partner in The Practice SF. She earned her dental degree in her native Italy and worked as a general dentist in Genova. Dr. Guglielmoni moved to the USA and received her DDS from Loma Linda University where she also completed her Certificate in Periodontics and Masters Degree in Oral Biology. She has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Division of Periodontology at UCSF. Dr. Guglielmoni is a member of several professional organizations including The American Dental Association, The American Academy of Periodontics, The Academy of Osseointegration, and the California Society of Periodontists.

One Response to “Four things to know about menopause and periodontal disease”

  1. milpitas dentist January 12, 2011 at 5:52 PM #

    Thanks Doc with this great tips..women should take care of their health that includes their dental health..they should undergo hormone therapy to avoid bone loss in jaw as what has written above..just bookmarked this page for future needs..thanks!

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