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Bone loss score may tip off doctors to gum disease in postmenopausal women
Postmenopausal women susceptible to bone fractures may also be at higher risk for gum disease, according to researchers in the US.
Researchers found a link between postmenopausal women with high scores on a fracture assessment risk tool (known as FRAX), and symptoms of severe gum disease. The researchers say that more investigations are needed, but that the FRAX score could potentially be used as a way to find women at risk for gum disease.
Women can suffer a rapid spike in bone loss in the first decade after the onset of menopause as oestrogen levels drop. Lower oestrogen levels also impact the mouth and cause inflammatory changes in the body that can lead to gingivitis, a precursor to gum disease. If untreated, the result is tooth loss.
Knowing how bone loss occurs throughout the body in menopause, the researchers were also interested in the oral-physical connections. They set out to find a way for doctors to identify women at risk for both gum disease and osteoporosis. They tested the hypothesis that women at risk for bone fractures might also be at risk for gum disease. FRAX scores take into account weight, height, previous fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, smoking habits, diabetes and other factors, many of which are also markers for gum disease.
Researchers found that women with high FRAX scores also showed the strongest signs of gum disease, a result that suggests that bone loss scores could provide a reliable indicator of gum disease.
Researchers find 99% correlation between blood glucose tests at dental visits
A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health confirms that using gingival crevicular blood (GCB; blood from the gums) for haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing produced values that were nearly identical to those obtained using finger stick blood (FSB), with a correlation of 0.991 between the two blood samples of 408 dental patients. Testing HbA1c is promoted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to diagnose diabetes and monitor glycaemic control.
Researchers said that in light of these findings, the dental visit could be a useful opportunity to conduct diabetes screening among at-risk, undiagnosed patients – an important first step in identifying those who need further testing to determine their diabetes status.
The study builds upon an earlier pilot study in which the feasibility and acceptability to patients and dental providers of using oral blood to screen for diabetes during a routine dental exam was demonstrated.
While anyone at risk for diabetes can potentially benefit from additional opportunities for screening, researchers found that participants who were at least 45 years old might especially reap great benefit from diabetes screening at dental visits. The researchers also noted that HbA1c testing at dental visits could serve as an additional opportunity to determine the extent of glycaemic control among those already diagnosed with diabetes.
Which children are at high risk for cavities?
Tooth decay rates have declined during the last 50 years, but researchers are still looking for ways to predict which children are at high risk for cavities.
Researchers at the University of Griefswald, Germany, did a study on tooth decay risk, which has been published in the journal Quintessence International. They started with 521 kindergarten-aged children. Each child's mouth was examined, and researchers also asked questions about their parents' education levels.
Ten years later, 170 of the children were examined again. Children whose fathers had at least a college degree had lower levels of tooth decay than other children.
Between kindergarten and the 10-year follow-up visit, the group with college-educated fathers had an average of two to three decayed, missing or filled teeth. In the other group of children, the average was about five decayed, missing or filled teeth. The researchers did not note a link between a mother's education level and her child's oral health.
The study also kept track of the children after high school. Those who went on to college had healthier mouths as kindergartners. They had about six decayed or filled teeth at that time, compared with 11 in children who did not go on to college.
The researchers concluded that parents' education level and the amount of tooth decay at age five or six are strong predictors of a child's oral health for the rest of childhood.