Postmenopausal women likely aren’t visiting the dentist enough.
According to a study by the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic, two dental checkups each year aren’t enough. The conclusion was made after studying women who are on bone-strengthening bisphosphonate therapies for osteoporosis.
Leena Palomo, the assistant professor of periodontics from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, and Maria Clarinda Beunocamino-Francisco from Center for Specialized Women’s Health at the clinic wanted to analyze the impact of bisphosphonate therapies on the jawbone. However, they ended up determining that postmenopausal women should visit the dentist more often.
There were 28 postmenopausal women and 28 other women on bisphosphonates therapies for at least two years who were tested for this study. They received CBCT scans of their jaws.
All of the women followed basic American Dental Association oral health guidelines and had two dental visits each year.
The research regarding bone strength and signs of osteoporosis was similar. But both groups had higher levels of dental plaque, something that may cause problems for postmenopausal women.
If plaque is left on teeth, it may eventually lead to gum disease.
The research was published in the February issue of Menopause.
Menopausal women who could be at risk for osteoporosis also may be at an increased risk for periodontal disease.
To avoid these problems, women may need to visit the dentist four times each year, according to Palomo. Going through bisphosphonate therapy isn’t enough to single-handedly keep the jawbone as strong as it needs to be.