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Gum disease in postmenopausal women linked to oral bone loss

the upper and lower jaw. The lower the crest, or top of the bone, the more bone has been lost. Loss of alveolar crest bone eventually can lead to tooth loss.

The association between bacterial infection and oral bone loss turned out to be strongest in overweight women, compared to normal weight or obese women.

We expected to see an increased risk for oral bone loss with increasing body mass index (BMI, a factor representing the relationship of weight to height), commented Renee Brennan, Ph.D., research assistant professor of social and preventive medicine and first author on the study.

However, the greatest risk was seen in overweight women. This was supported by a three-fold increase in these women. Other factors that we could not assess may be at play in the obese women. We need to explore further the impact of weight and BMI on the associations of oral bacteria and oral bone loss.

Blood levels of inflammation markers, which would provide a clear picture of overall risk werent available at the time, but the researchers now are planning to investigate this association.

In addition to substantiating the relationship between certain known and suspected oral pathogens and oral bone loss, results confirmed that the three control bacteria included in the study, which have not been associated with periodontal disease, also were not associated with oral bone loss.

On the contrary, the two control bacteria -- S. sanguis and Capnocytophaga sp. -- were associated with healthier oral bone.

Brennan said the findings will help develop a more complete understanding of the mechanisms involved in periodontal disease.


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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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