Background: Evidence supporting an association between osteoporosis and loss of alveolar crestal bone is limited. This study investigated that association in a large cohort of postmenopausal women.
Methods: A cohort of 1,341 postmenopausal women aged 53 to 85 were assessed for alveolar crestal height (ACH) and bone density. ACH was determined from oral radiographs with subjects dichotomized by disease severity. Bone density was assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, with severity determined by worst T score measured (normal >-1.00; low -1.00 to -2.00; moderate -2.01 to -2.49; osteoporotic <-2.5).
Results: Compared to subjects in the normal T-score group, the odds of worse ACH increased by 39%, 59%, and 230% for those in the low, moderate, and osteoporotic groups, respectively. Adjustment for weight, education, hormone use, calcium or vitamin D supplementation, and smoking did not appreciably change the findings. Further adjustment for age attenuated the association, with osteoporotic subjects having a 1.9-fold increase of being in the worst ACH group (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19 to 3.05). After age stratification, in women younger than 70 there was a significant trend by decreasing T-score category (P <0.02). Osteoporotic subjects had worse ACH (odds ratio [OR] = 1.95; 95% CI 1.20 to 3.17). In women aged 70 and older, worse ACH was 2.5- to 4.6-fold increased for decreasing T-score category. After adjustment, the OR (95% CI) for the low, moderate, and osteoporotic groups were 2.66 (1.12 to 6.29), 2.31 (0.89 to 6.01), and 3.57 (1.42 to 8.97), respectively (P trend = 0.026).
Conclusions: This study found a strong and consistent association between T score and ACH in postmenopausal women. Increasing age is an important modifier of that association.