Estrogen’s Benefits for the Gums
A recent study from a university in Brazil has found that women who take estrogen for osteoporosis are 44% less likely to have severe periodontitis. While it is well known that hormone levels occurring throughout a woman’s lifetime will affect her gums, this study is one of the first to find that estrogen, specifically, may prevent gum disease.
Women and Gum Health
Women go through numerous changes in hormone levels throughout their lives. Some of the most obvious and well known of these changes are puberty, the menstruation cycle, pregnancy and menopause. For example, girls going through puberty often experience irritated gums, as do pregnant women.
Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones. The disease is often attributed to hormonal changes in postmenopausal women, or to a vitamin D or calcium deficiency.
The study was conducted at the University of Bahia in Brazil, and published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society (July 2017 issue, Vol. 24). Examining the cases of 500 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, 113 of whom chose estrogen therapy for treatment, researchers followed the women for a year. Among other findings, which included the importance of income and dental visit frequency on periodontitis, was the finding that those who received estrogen therapy were much less likely to have severe gum disease.
What does this mean?
The results offer great information for those of us in oral (and other) health fields. They help us to better understand and possibly predict gum issues, and may even lead someday to updated recommendations for periodontal care in women.
Should I be on estrogen?
Not necessarily. While the link appears to be a good one, periodontal disease alone is not enough to warrant hormone replacement therapy in women. Regular check-ins with your physician are the only way to know if you need estrogen replacement therapy.
We are happy to bring you the latest in periodontal news! Please call our office with any questions you may have about your care.