Research Article| Volume 55, ISSUE 2, P126-131, September 20, 2006

Tooth count in elderly women in relation to their skeletal status



      Generalized bone loss may contribute to the development of tooth loss in elderly individuals. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship of tooth count with hip and spine densitometry and phalangeal quantitative ultrasound (QUS) measurements and to compare skeletal status between women completely and partially edentulous and between women with caries or periodontal disease.


      In the study, 67 postmenopausal women (37 edentulous and 30 with partial tooth loss) in the mean age of 62.8 ± 7.2 years were evaluated. No reasons with potential influence on bone metabolism (chronic diseases or medications) were noted. In order to reveal the role of the factor underlying tooth loss, all patients were also divided into subjects with caries (n = 27) and periodontal disease (n = 40). Skeletal status was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at the hip and spine (bone mineral density—BMD [g/cm2]) and by QUS at the hand proximal phalanges (amplitude-dependent speed of sound—Ad-SoS [m/s]).


      Women completely and partially edentulous did not differ significantly but a tendency to have lower values in women completely edentulous was noted. Comparisons between women with caries and periodontitis also did not show any significant differences (except for significantly lower Z-score of Ad-SoS in women with caries). Tooth count correlated only with hip BMD: in the whole group (r = 0.25–0.30, p = 0.04–0.01) and in women with caries (r = 0.45–0.51, p = 0.02–0.006). In women with periodontitis tooth count correlated only with Ad-SoS (r = 0.36, p = 0.002).


      Associations between dental and skeletal status indicate that systemic bone loss in skeletal sites being mostly cortical may contribute to the tooth loss.


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