New research forecasts that over one in four post-menopausal women are likely to suffer from tooth loss over a five year period.
A study of over 1,000 post-menopausal women indicates that around one in four are likely to suffer tooth loss over a five year period, and the risk increases to nearly 90 per cent if other risk factors are present, especially diabetes and smoking.
The American based study found that 293 post-menopausal women out of 1,021 (28.7 per cent) had suffered from tooth loss over the five year study period. Previous studies have potentially linked the menopause to tooth loss because of factors such as bone loss and oestrogen deficiency. The impact of the menopause may go some way to explain why women more often suffer from tooth loss, despite generally having better oral health than men.
The research, published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, is one of the few studies to chart the oral health of post-menopausal women over time and is likely to be informative to help target high-risk groups.
Tooth loss can occur in anyone at any age, but this latest research quantifies a substantial risk to women in the postmenopausal period.
What is also clear from the research is that the cumulative effects of risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, weight and previous poor oral health all combine to create an exceptionally high risk of tooth loss, which will have a further impact on quality of life and self-image. For this group of people, the researchers forecast the risk will more than treble to between eight and nine out of every ten women suffering tooth loss.
Menopause is clearly a period of life when special attention needs to be given to maintaining good oral health.
Although most people brush regularly, many don’t clean between their teeth and some people don’t have regular dental check-ups. A few small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in the long run. Dentists or dental hygienists can remove any build-up on your teeth and treat any gum disease that has already appeared. But daily dental care is up to you, and the main weapons are the toothbrush and inter-dental cleaning. See Gum Disease and Lifestyle.