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Estrogen for postmenopausal osteoporosis reduces periodontitis risk

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March 6, 2017

Postmenopausal women receiving estrogen therapy for osteoporosis or osteopenia were less likely to have severe periodontitis compared with treatment-naive women, according to findings published in Menopause.

In a cross-sectional study, Johelle de S. Passos-Soares, PhD, of the department of preventive dentistry at Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, and colleagues analyzed data from 492 postmenopausal women without diabetes recruited from an osteoporosis diagnostic service in Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil (mean age, 61 years; mean age at menopause, 47 years). All women had been postmenopausal for at least 1 year and had densitometry examinations produced at the osteoporosis diagnostic service conducted between June 2009 and September 2011. Within the cohort, 356 women had a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia; 113 were receiving osteoporosis treatment; 379 women were treatment-naive to osteoporosis therapies. Researchers stratified women by two categories: those treated with systemic estrogen alone or estrogen and progestin, plus calcium and vitamin D supplements for at least 6 months, and those who never received any such therapies. Periodontal status was assessed by probing depth, gingival recession, clinical attachment level and bleeding on probing.

Researchers found that women receiving osteoporosis treatment with estrogen had smaller mean measurements for probing depth (P .01), clinical attachment level (P = .05) and bleeding on probing (P = .05) vs. treatment-naive women. There were no between-group differences for the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth (P = .2).

After adjusting for smoking status, age, family income and last visit to dentist, researchers found a negative association between osteoporosis treatment and severe periodontitis (adjusted prevalence ratio = 0.56; 95% CI, 0.31-0.99).

“The rate of occurrence of severe periodontitis was 44% lower in the postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment group than in the group without treatment, even after adjustment for covariables such as smoking habit, age, family income and visit to the dentist,” the researchers wrote. “The same reasoning could be used to explain the finding for the clinical parameter of number of teeth with probing depth at least 4 mm, thus suggesting that osteoporosis treatment may prevent periodontal disease.” – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.