Menopausal Patients Linked to Increased Risk for Gum Disease

menopause and gum diseeaseCase Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic say that menopausal women may need to see the dentist as many as four times a year to control dental plaque.

Leena Palomo, an assistant professor of periodontics, and Maria Clarinda Beunocamino-Francisco from the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at the clinic completed a comparison study of women on and off bone-strengthening bisphosphonate therapies for osteoporosis.

In the women they studied, they found a marked increase in dental plaque levels, which could endanger the jawbones of postmenopausal women. (Dental plaque is a biofilm that develops naturally on our teeth. If the plaque is left on teeth too long, it triggers gum disease.)

“Menopausal women at risk for osteoporosis also are at risk for periodontal disease, which affects bone that anchors teeth,” says Palomo. “To keep jawbones strong and healthy,” she added, “means getting rid of the dental plaque by seeing the dentist as many as four times a year for deep periodontal cleanings.”

Do you find that your menopausal patients have more problems with dental plaque than their younger counterparts? What do you recommend to your female patients over 50?

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