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Gum disease in postmenopausal women linked to oral bone loss

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A study conducted in a large sample of postmenopausal women by University at Buffalo epidemiologists has provided new information on the prevalence of certain gum-disease-causing oral bacteria in this population 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 senior author on the study

Results appear in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

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 Womens 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
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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000, ext. 1417
University at Buffalo
15-Jun-2007


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