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CWRU researcher sends message to postmenopausal women: 'Increase yearly dental checkups'
Date:3/10/2011

Postmenopausal women have a new health message to hear. Two annual dental checkups aren't enough. Older women need more, according to research findings from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic.

That message comes from a comparison study of women on and off bone-strengthening bisphosphonate therapies for osteoporosis.

Leena Palomo, assistant professor of periodontics from the dental school, and Maria Clarinda Beunocamino-Francisco from the Center for Specialized Women's Health at the clinic, set out to study the long-term effects of bisphosphonate therapies on the jawbone, but came up with this new findings that impacts all women after undergoing menopause.

Twenty-eight postmenopausal women with normal bones were compared with 28 women on bisphosphonate therapies for at least two years or more. The participants (all between the ages of 51 and 80) received conebeam CT scans of their jaws and a complete periodontal check for dental plaque, bleeding, and loss of bone attachment and of the alveolar bone socket.

Both groups of women had followed the recommended American Dental Association oral health standards to brush twice daily, floss and have at least two dental checkups a year.

The findings for bone strength and other markers for osteoporosis were similar for both groups. But the researchers found both groups had increased dental plaque levels, which could endanger the jawbone of normal postmenopausal women and reverse any benefits gained in bone mass.

Dental plaque is the fuzzy bacterial material that covers the teeth when you wake up in the morning. The biofilm is a mixture of bacteria, bacterial waste and food particles stuck to the teeth and provide nourishment for more bacteria.

While women from both groups had similar bone health results and women on the long-term oral bone-strengthening therapies showed no signs of bone death, the
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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