Estrogen therapy has been credited with helping women manage a wide range of menopause-related issues, such as hot flashes, improving heart health, and maintaining sexual satisfaction. New research suggests that estrogen therapy used to treat osteoporosis can lead to healthier teeth and gums.
During menopause estrogen levels reduce and women become more vulnerable to health issues such as loss of bone mineral density which can lead to osteoporosis. During menopause changes in oral health also are common as teeth and gums become more susceptible to disease, leading to inflammation, bleeding, pain, and potentially lost teeth.
In the research, 492 postmenopausal Brazilian women aged 50 to 87 years, 113 in osteoporosis treatment and 379 not treated, were evaluated to determine whether osteoporosis treatment could help increase the bone mineral density in their jaws and improve oral health. The study found that the rate of occurrence of severe periodontitis was 44% lower in the postmenopausal osteoporosis-treatment group than in the untreated group. Treatment consisted of systemic estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin, in addition to calcium and vitamin D supplements, for at least six months.
As such, estrogen therapy may also prevent the worsening of tooth and gum disease. All women, but especially those with low estrogen or on bisphosphonate treatment for osteoporosis, should make practice good dental care to maintain their health.
Johelle de S. Passos-Soares, Maria Isabel P. Vianna, Isaac S. Gomes-Filho, Simone S. Cruz, Maurício L. Barreto, Luis F. Adan, Cassiano K. Rösing, Soraya C. Trindade, Eneida M.M. Cerqueira, Frank A. Scannapieco. Association between osteoporosis treatment and severe periodontitis in postmenopausal women. Menopause, 2017; 1