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Post Menopausal Women are Prone to Gum Disease

University at Buffalo epidemiologists has provided new information on the prevalence of certain gum-disease-causing oral bacteria in Post menopausal women and the association of the bacteria with oral bone loss.

Results showed that women infected with four bacteria known to cause periodontal disease were more likely to have more severe oral bone loss than those without these oral pathogens.

Two widely recognized periodontal pathogens, called P. gingivalis and T. forsythensis, were found to infect 15.1 percent and 37.9 percent of the women, respectively. Two additional oral bacteria suspected to be pathogenic, P. intermedia and C. rectus, were found in 43.4 percent and 17.4 percent of women.

"This is one of the first studies in community-dwelling postmenopausal women that assessed bacteria presence and associated it with oral bone loss, while controlling for other factors, such as age, smoking status and income," said Jean Wactawski-Wende, Ph.D., associate professor of social and preventive medicine, UB School of Public Health and Health Professions, and sen.

The study involved 1,256 postmenopausal women who were part of a larger population-based investigation of risk factors for osteoporosis and oral bone loss in postmenopausal women, which is an offshoot of the observational portion of the national Women's Health Initiative (WHI).

Participants in this study completed questionnaires, had physical measurements taken, had bone-density testing and an oral health examination. The oral health examination had several components, including microbiological sampling of subgingival plaque and oral X-rays.

Investigators used a measure called alveolar crestal height to determine the amount of oral bone loss. Alveolar bone surrounds the teeth and holds them in place in the upper and lower jaw. The lower the crest, or top of the bone, the more bone has been lost. Loss of alveolar crest bone eventually can le
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