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Menopausal women may have high risk of dental health conditions
Updated: 3/14/2011 3:00:00 PM

Older women should seek more frequent dental cleanings to remove plaque and reduce their risk of gum disease Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic are now suggesting that women over the age of 50 should have more than two dental checkups per year, since a new study conducted by the group has shown that menopausal women are more likely to have high amounts of plaque buildup and are at risk of tooth loss.

The investigators found that the female participants, who all practiced good oral hygiene based on recommendations by the American Dental Association, had abnormal levels of plaque buildup.

Although half of the group was prescribed biophosphonates to help prevent osteoporosis, the researchers said that untreated plaque buildup could negate the benefits of the womens' bone treatments.

Plaque can initiate gum disease, lead researcher Leena Palomo said. Cytokines that are produced in periodontitis can reach under the surface of gums and rot teeth. This process may cause tooth loss in women, Palomo noted.

The researchers said they believe that women should visit the dentist about four times annually throughout menopause.

Palomo added that biophosphonate therapy may not sufficiently maintain jaw bone health, and that frequent dental cleanings are needed to remove the plaque that can cause gum disease and tooth decay.

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