Diseases Are Blind To Age
Submitted by Dr Andreas Siebold on 21 June, 2007 ]
studies suggest that periodontal diseases should be a concern to women
of all ages
CHICAGO - Two new studies in the June issue of the Journal of
Periodontology (JOP) suggest 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," explained study author Brian Mullally,
PhD. "Our study shows that it is very possible for younger women to
experience periodontal disease. It is important for women to alert their
dental practitioners of 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 in this month's issue of the JOP 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.
"Our study's findings are important for postmenopausal women
because they suggest that good periodontal health is extremely important
in the postmenopausal years," said study author Renee Brennan, PhD.
"We found that 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 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. It should be noted
that our study was limited in that it included a relatively healthy
group of mostly Caucasian women and that future studies are needed to
determine the effects of periodontal bacteria on bone loss in other
groups of postmenopausal women."
"Taking care of your teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment,"
explained Preston D. Miller, Jr., DDS, President of the American Academy
of Periodontology. "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 planing."
The American Academy of Periodontology is an 8,000-member association of
dental professionals specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of
the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.
Periodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the
American Dental Association.
The American Academy of Periodontology
Phone: (312) 573-3243
Fax: (312) 573-3234
EDITOR'S NOTE: A copy of the JOP articles "Current oral
contraceptive status and periodontitis in young adults" and
"Bacterial species in subgingival plaque and oral bone loss in
postmenopausal women" are available to the media by contacting the
AAP Public Affairs Department at (312) 573-3243. The public and/or
non-AAP members can view a study abstract online, and the full-text of
the study may be accessed online for $20.00 at http://www.joponline.org/