Body mass index and periodontal health are correlated in postmenopausal women with low bone density

Leena Palomo, Maria Clarinda Buenocamino, Holly Thacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Postmenopausal women are at risk for skeletal bone loss and periodontitis, which results in tooth loss. Pathogenesis of both processes involves osteoclast activation regulated by common cytokines. Where obesity has been shown to be associated with a higher prevalence of periodontitis, high body mass index, once considered to be protective against skeletal bone loss in postmenopausal women, is now being reconsidered as a potential risk for low bone density. Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate whether a correlation exists between BMI and periodontal parameters (plaque score, probing depth, and bleeding) in postmenopausal women with low bone density. Patients and Methods: In a population of Caucasian postmenopausal women (n = 56) with low bone density, BMI was measured, and a periodontal exam to measure periodontal parameters was completed. Participants also completed a questionnaire on exercise habits. Results: In simple linear regression, BMI was correlated with PD but with no other periodontal factors. On average, an increase of one point in BMI resulted in an increase of 0.06 mm in PD. PD was significantly correlated with BMI, even after adjusting for exercise. BMI was not a significant factor in BOP in the simple regression case, but it became significant when adjusted for exercise. Furthermore, there was an interaction between BMI and exercise, which indicates that heavier subjects who did not exercise had higher BOP scales than heavy subjects who did exercise. Indeed, it appears that BMI was not much of a factor at all for subjects who exercised. Conclusions: The results of this investigation indicate a correlation between BMI and periodontitis in postmenopausal women and suggest that some interaction may exist between the metabolic state and alveolar bone level. These findings support the assertion that alveolar bone may function as an endocrine target organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011


  • Body mass index
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Postmenopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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