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30-05-2011 | Bone health | Article

Low BMD linked to oral dryness in postmenopausal women


Free abstract

MedWire News: Postmenopausal women experiencing oral dryness (OD) have significantly lower bone mineral density (BMD) than women who do not experience this condition, study data show.

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a major complaint for many older individuals and, like osteoporosis, is strongly associated with menopause, explain Farzaneh Agha-Hosseini (Tehran University, Iran) and colleagues.

In addition, previous study data have shown that the mean concentration of stimulated whole-saliva calcium is significantly higher in women with OD compared with a control group, they say.

Since calcium is the main mineral component of the human skeletal system, Agha-Hosseini and team examined the association between BMD and the severity of OD.

They used dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to measure BMD at the lumbar spine, and recorded OD severity using the xerostomia inventory score in 30 postmenopausal women (aged 45 to 70 years) who reported experiencing OD, and in 30 controls without the condition.

The researchers found that unstimulated, but not stimulated, whole salivary flow rate was significantly lower in postmenopausal women with OD, than in those without.

Moreover, women with OD had significantly lower mean lumbar spine BMD than controls, with approximate T-scores of -2.05 and -1.40, respectively.

Spearman's rank correlation coefficient analysis showed that xerostomia inventory score correlated significantly and negatively with BMD in these women.

Agha-Hosseini and co-authors point out that women with OD are usually referred to dental personnel.

"Because many women visit a dental office more often than a medical office, dentists' knowledge about manifestations of osteoporosis could provide an earlier diagnosis of metabolic bone diseases than is currently available," they write in the journal Menopause.

The researchers conclude by calling for larger studies to investigate OD as a complication of osteoporosis.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Laura Dean

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