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Jean-Claude Kharmouche, DMD
Periodontal Disease Is Blind To Age
NOVA Perio Specialists

Periodontal Disease Is Blind To Age

Two Studies Suggest That Periodontal Diseases Should Be a Concern to Women Of All Ages

Two new studies show that periodontal diseases are a threat to women of all ages due to hormonal fluctuations that occur at various stages of their lives.

One study looked at 50 women who were between the ages of 20 to 35 with varying forms of periodontitis. The study found that women who currently were taking oral contraceptive pills had more gingival bleeding upon probing and deeper periodontal pockets (signs of periodontitis) than those who were not taking oral contraceptive pills.

Younger women often think that periodontal disease is a condition associated with old age. The study shows that it is very possible for younger women to experience periodontal disease.

It is important for women to alert their dental practitioners about any medications they are taking, such as oral contraceptive pills, because it is possible that their oral health may be affected.

It might also be prudent, where possible, for young women to ensure that their periodontal health has been checked before commencing oral contraceptive therapy.

Another study examined 1,256 postmenopausal women and looked for a potential association between periodontal bacteria and bone loss in the oral cavity. The study results showed that women with periodontal bacteria in their mouths were also more likely to have bone loss in the oral cavity, which can lead to tooth loss if not treated.

The studys findings are important for postmenopausal women because they suggest that good periodontal health is extremely important in the postmenopausal years. Oral bone loss was associated with presence of oral bacteria. In fact, 62% of the women in our study had at least one species of subgingival bacteria present, and the women with these bacteria had more evidence of oral bone loss. Interestingly, women who had a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight range were much more likely to have oral bone loss associated with presence of oral bacteria.

Oral bone loss has been associated with osteoporosis in this group as well. This association has been difficult to study because many risk factors for periodontal disease and osteoporosis including smoking, age, medications, and overall general health are similar.

“Taking care of your teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment,” explained Preston D. Miller, DDS and AAP president. “Women should pay special attention to their oral health as they enter different stages of their lives because additional periodontal care may be needed during different points such as the reproductive years or menopause. Knowing your pocket size depth can be a good way for women to keep track of their periodontal health; periodontal pockets of one to two millimeters with no bleeding are not a concern but pockets of three and four millimeters may need a more in depth cleaning called scaling and root planning.”

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