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J Periodontol. 2013 May;84(5):572-84. doi: 10.1902/jop.2012.120137. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Five-year changes in periodontal disease measures among postmenopausal females: the Buffalo OsteoPerio study.

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  • 1Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA.



Understanding of longitudinal characteristics of periodontal disease in older females is limited. This study examined 5-year changes in periodontal disease measures among postmenopausal females.


Participants were 1,025 postmenopausal, 53- to 83-year-old females who completed baseline (1997 to 2001) and 5-year follow-up (2002 to 2006) whole-mouth oral examinations in a study ancillary to the Women's Health Initiative. Periodontal disease was characterized using probing depth (PD), clinical attachment level (CAL), alveolar crest height (ACH), and tooth loss. Differences in measures between examinations were used to characterize patterns of change.


Baseline prevalence of none/mild, moderate, and severe periodontal disease defined using criteria of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was 27%, 58%, and 15%, respectively. Tooth loss attributable to periodontitis occurred in 13% of females. Mean ± SD changes in whole-mouth mean measures showed progression when based on ACH (-0.19 ± 0.49 mm) yet relatively stable disease when based on PD (0.11 ± 0.42 mm) and CAL (0.06 ± 0.58 mm). Mean change in worst-site ACH was greater (P <0.001) in females with severe periodontitis and osteoporosis at baseline and with tooth loss during follow-up. Periodontal changes did not differ according to baseline age, hormone therapy use, smoking status, or age at menopause.


Five-year changes in periodontal measures among generally healthy postmenopausal females were, on average, small and did not suggest a consistent pattern of disease progression. Females with history of severe periodontitis or osteoporosis may experience accelerated oral bone loss despite stability or small improvement in routine probing measures.

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