Many women take estrogen therapy for relief of menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis, but new research shows that the treatment may also lower their risk of gum disease.
Menopausal symptoms, caused by lower levels of estrogen, and osteoporosis, caused by aging, menopause, and lack of Vitamin D and calcium, are often treated with estrogen therapy. Now a new study suggests that the same estrogen therapy used to treat menopause symptoms and osteoporosis can actually lead to healthier teeth and gums.
The study, published in the July 2017 issue of Vol. 24 in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), explores the association between osteoporosis treatment and severe periodontitis in postmenopausal women. As estrogen levels fall during menopause, loss of bone mineral density can lead to osteoporosis. It is noted that around the same time, changes in oral health are also more common. Osteoporosis is a health condition that greatly affects the bones, since the disease weakens them and makes them capable of breaking easily. It can also have a direct relationship on oral and dental health, as the disease can hamper or damage jawbones, and trigger gum disease and loss of teeth.
The study revealed that women over the age of 50 treated with estrogen for osteoporosis are 44 percent less likely to have severe periodontitis than women who did not receive the treatment. Although previous studies have investigated the relationship between osteoporosis and tooth loss, few have examined the link between estrogen therapy and periodontal disease.
“This study demonstrates that estrogen 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 estrogen or on bisphosphonate treatment for osteoporosis, should make good dental care a part of their healthy lifestyles”, says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director.