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Postmenopausal Women at Risk for Tooth Loss:

When it comes to dental care and oral hygiene, a woman's work is never done, especially if they want to avoid dental problems such as tooth loss. New research out of America has shown that one out of four postmenopausal women are at risk for losing a tooth over a five-year period.

After a women stops menstruating, hormonal fluctuations and biological changes can wreak havoc on her well being. The risk of ending up with a missing tooth is only the latest symptom to be attributed to the time after menopause. Some additional side affects that happen after the change of life include an increased risk of a woman developing osteoporosis, heart disease and weight gain.

About The Study

The most recent findings regarding women's oral health analyzed the oral health of 1,027 postmenopausal women. Of the study group, 293 participants (or 28.7 per cent) lost a tooth over the course of the five year study. (Buffalo Osteo Perio Study. Christopher Bole, Jean Wactawski-Wende, Kathleen M. Hovey, Robert J. Genco, Ernest Hausmann. Article first published online: 4 NOV 2010. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.2010.00555.x © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.)

The odds are even greater for women who follow high-risk behaviors such as dental neglect, obesity, diabetes or being a cigarette smoker. For those demographics the odds of losing a tooth was approximately 90 percent.

Warning for Postmenopausal Women

This is not the first time postmenopausal women have been warned about how vulnerable they are to dental problems. Results of a study released by the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic have shown that these particular ladies need to maintain a schedule of multiple annual dental exams as postmenopausal women have higher levels of bone loss, osteoporosis and dental plaque to their younger and more fertile counterparts.

The study was conducted by the assistant periodontics professor, Dr. Leena Palomo and Dr. Maria Clarinda Buenocamino-Francisco of the Center for Specialized Women's Health, Cleveland Clinic. A total of 56 women participated; half had healthy bones and the other half took osteoporosis therapy medication. Group participants ranged in age from 51 to 80 and all participants received thorough periodontal exams for signs of dental problems and practiced flawless oral hygiene during the study.

The research showed that the women had several osteoporosis indicators in common, regardless of if they were taking the therapy medication or not. Additionally, it was found that all study participants, regardless of the bone density, all had higher than average levels of dental plaque.

1-800-DENTIST describes dental plaque as being the "sticky film" that coats teeth. That film is actually a community of oral bacteria. Those bacterium feasts on trace elements of sugar left behind on teeth and produce an acid byproduct as a result. It is that acid that erodes dental health, increases the odds of developing dental problems such as tooth decay and eventooth loss.

Oral Care Can Help Postmenopausal Women Fight Back

There is no arguing with science and the facts clearly demonstrate how vital dental care is for aging women. In order to reduce the odds of tooth loss and dodge becoming an unfavorable statistic, postmenopausal women must take their preventative dental care needs seriously and follow tooth savvy tips including:

  • Brush twice a day for a full two-minutes with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove excess dental plaque and stray food particles.
  • Make clean, fresh water your beverage of choice.
  • Eat a nutritious diet based on the United State Department of Agriculture's newNutrition Plate.
  • Choose vices wisely, alcohol consumption should be minimal and smoking a taboo.
  • See a dentist twice a year, no if, ands or buts!
  • Talk to your dentist, request that they check out your plaque levels and mention this article. They may recommended adding some additional appointments into your rotation

All these behaviors will do wonders for aging women who long to keep their teeth and want to minimize the need for restorative dental care such as dental implants or dentures down the line.

Regardless of if you are a woman, man or a caregiver looking to find a dentist for their charges 1-800-DENTIST can connect you to a great dentist 24/7. Simply call our toll-free number and speak to one of our helpful operators.