For women going through menopause there are any number of issues that one must contend with, such as hot flashes and loss of bone density because of mineral depletion. However, estrogen therapy has been shown to help women in managing these menopause related problems. Now, according to a new study from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), it would seem that this particular therapy can have the added benefit of reducing diseases of the gums and teeth in women who are postmenopausal.
Not only can estrogen therapy work to treat osteoporosis, but based on new findings it can actually lead to healthier teeth and gums. When estrogen levels fall in women during menopause, it can lead to numerous health issues because of this vulnerability. At the same time as these health issues arise, such as osteoporosis, women also find themselves dealing with fluctuations in their oral health because they become more susceptible to diseases. Some women find themselves dealing with missing or loose teeth, bleeding of the gums, general mouth pain, and problems with inflammation.
In the study, which was published in the journal Menopause, 492 Brazilian women who were postmenopausal between the ages of 50 and 87 years of age were evaluated in order to determine if estrogen therapy could make any type of difference in their oral health. Of the 492 women in the study, 379 were not treated, while 113 women were. The researchers looked to see if receiving treatment would help postmenopausal women to increase the bone density minerals within their jaws and an overall improvement to oral health.
The researchers found that the women who received estrogen therapy had a lower rate of occurrence of severe periodontitis by approximately 44 percent versus the women in the study who did not receive the treatment. The treatments that were given were either systemic estrogen on its own or estrogen with the addition of progestin. These women were also given supplements of Vitamin D and calcium for at least six months.
As the NAMS executive director, Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, explains osteoporosis is a disease that can happen anywhere in the body, including the jaw, which leads to an increased risk of periodontal disease. With this new study, they have found that estrogen therapy is not only effective in preventing bone loss, but it may also help to put a stop to the overall worsening of dental health that women going through menopause find themselves having to contend with. It is still important to take care of one’s oral health, but perhaps there may be a way to supplement good oral hygiene for women who are postmenopausal.
By Dorothea James