Oral health becomes more difficult to maintain as we age, and we’re not entirely sure why. To attempt to discover more about this problem, researchers at the University of Buffalo are running an extensive study on how menopause may impact the oral health of aging women. We know that women’s hormones can have a significant impact on oral health during pregnancy–leading to an increased risk of gum disease and cavities, and now we will hopefully learn about the impact of menopause as well.
Most of us don’t like to think about it, but our mouth is actually an environment that supports a diversity of life, sort of like a river or lake. When the environment is healthy, there will be a balanced population, but if different factors in the environment are off, some organisms may come to dominate and can lead to toxic conditions that can kill certain species and damage the environment. This condition is analogous to gum disease when certain damaging species of bacteria thrive and injure your mouth.
The University of Buffalo researchers hope that looking at the environment of the mouth will help us understand why some people are more likely to develop periodontitis while others only develop gingivitis, even though other factors may be the same. Their new research will focus specifically on the environment in the subgingival area of the gums to understand what factors cause damaging bacteria to thrive.
The University of Buffalo isn’t starting from scratch with this new study–it’s building on a lot of work that’s already been done. Researchers are working with data and samples collected as part of the Buffalo OsteoPerio Study, which ran from 1997 to 2001, including a five-year follow-up from 2002 to 2006.
At the time, they collected a lot of data about personal and lifestyle factors, including diet, obesity, diabetes, hormone use, overall health, and smoking. They also collected subgingival plaque samples that were preserved from the previous studies. These samples will be thawed and analyzed using cutting-edge technology that was not available at the time of the original studies.
The hope is that analyzing all this data using the newest methods available will give us a new understanding of one of the most common and dangerous diseases affecting older adults. That new understanding can be used to give us better insight into the prevention and treatment of gum disease to help us all live healthier lives.
If you are looking for advanced gum disease treatment in Beverly Hills, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment at Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD today.