Bisphosphonates aid dental health in menopausal women

2009 08 27 12 02 18 416 Young Senior Woman 70

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density, long-term bisphosphonate therapy appears to benefit the periodontium, researchers report in a September 10 online paper in Menopause.

Nevertheless, "in rare cases," Dr. Leena Palomo told Reuters Health by e-mail, "bisphosphonate therapy for prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis has been associated with death of the jawbone."

However, she added, "Since the accepted incidence of this negative side effect is orders of magnitude less than the near-certain skeletal bone loss following menopause, it is intuitive that the benefits of bisphosphonate therapy outweigh the risks and that women continue to use the therapy to protect against postmenopausal osteoporosis."

To examine the effects on the periodontium, Dr. Palomo of the Case Western School of Dental Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, and colleagues compared 28 postmenopausal women with low bone density using bisphosphonate therapy for at least 2 years and a matching group not using such therapy.

The bisphosphonate users had significantly higher plaque score, lower probing depth, and lesser clinical attachment loss. Also their bleeding on probing was lower and the alveolar bone height was higher, but these differences didn't reach significance.

There were indications that the association of periodontal status and outcome measures was constant across all levels of plaque score.

The researchers call for larger studies, but conclude that the approach seems to have beneficial effects on the periodontium.

This study and others like it, Dr. Palomo continued, "give hope that bone metabolic disease therapeutics may be developed for oral health implications, but until then, professional dental care and excellent oral hygiene appear to be the best long term strategy."

"Physicians caring for postmenopausal women," she added, "should also be vigilant for dental problems -- both gum disease and tooth decay -- and empower patients to protect their oral health by visiting the dentist at least twice a year, along with following American Dental Association recommendations."

By David Douglas


Menopause 2010.

Last Updated: 2010-10-21 14:00:28 -0400 (Reuters Health)

Copyright © 2010 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Page 1 of 183
Next Page