Oral Health & Older Women: Systematic Health Issues

The University at Buffalo (UB) has recently released a research study that shows how higher intakes of sugary foods such as baked goods, soft drinks, and bread might lead to systematic health issues of post menopausal women and poor oral health.

To find out why this happens and what you can do to prevent it, continue reading the rest of our blog on the impact of sugary foods on your oral and overall health.

How does the food we eat affect our oral health?

Did you know that the food we eat influences the type of bacteria we create? Researchers found that the bacteria can have a good or bad effect, as your oral microbiome plays a big role in your overall health and wellbeing. In our previous blog which you can read here, we talked more about how bad bacteria can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, heart disease, and much more.

To learn more about the health issues that are caused by oral bacteria and how to prevent them, click here. Although sugary foods are bad for our oral health we often only think of them as effecting our bodies and we discount the impact they have on our teeth. In the next section, we look at the significant impact that your food choices will play on your health in your later stages of life.

What is the impact of sugary foods on post-menopausal women?

The scientists in this study demonstrated that eating sugary foods can impact the oral microbiome of postmenopausal women and can cause systematic health issues. This was found through an investigation of carbohydrates and sugar on the composition of oral bacteria in a group of 1204 post-menopausal women.

Samples were taken of the subgingival plaque of these women which is located underneath their gums. “This is important because the oral bacteria involved in periodontal disease are primarily residing in the subgingival plaque,” according to Amy Millen the associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the School of Public Health at the university.

She continued to explain that “looking at measures of salivary bacteria might not tell us how oral bacteria relate to periodontal disease because we are not looking in the right environment within the mouth.”

What were the findings of the research study?

The scientists found positive connections between total carbohydrates, glycemic load, sucrose, and streptococcus Mutans which contributes to tooth decay. Although there are plenty of observed associations that are not well established, Streptococcus Mutans can contribute to types of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also observed Leptotrichia spp, which is connected to gingivitis and your sugar intake. Amy Millen “We examined these bacteria in relation to usual carbohydrate consumption in postmenopausal women across a wide variety of carbohydrate types: total carbohydrate intake, fiber intake, disaccharide intake, to simple sugar intake.”

Amy Millen had this to say about her research “no other study had examined the oral bacteria in relation to such a broad array of carbohydrate types in one cohort. We also looked at associations with glycemic load, which is not well studied in relation to the oral microbiome.”

How can you take better care of your oral health?

As we all age our teeth require extra tending loving care because our bones and enamel become weaker. In addition to this, it seems like there is additional sufficient evidence pointing to how post-menopausal women are additionally susceptible to poor oral health and systematic health issues as well. Here are 10 important tips for having great oral health later in life. To learn more about the below oral health best practices click here:

1. Reduce your sugar intake
2. Visit your dentist regularly
3. Improve your teeth brushing technique
4. Floss your teeth persistently and brush afterward
5. Be careful around sugary and teeth staining drinks such as; pop and red wine
6. Use the right kind of toothbrush
7. Brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth
8. As we age our tooth enamel and bones weaken and you should visit the dentist more
9. Get orthodontic care if you need it
10. Consider teeth whitening to improve your oral and digestive health