Relationship of Bone Loss in the Jaw and Osteoporosis
As people age, the potential for health concerns such as osteoporosis increase. When a person has osteoporosis, bone density decreases and the risk for fractures increases. The bones in the hip, spine, and wrist are most frequently involved, although any bone can be affected. It is estimated that more than 40 million people are impacted or at risk for osteoporosis.
Bone Density and Dental Concerns
The potential for oral health can also decline as a result of bone density reduction in the jaw. The alveolar process serves as the main support and anchor for our teeth. When the jawbone losses mass, teeth can become loose and even fall out. Approximately 33% of adults above age 65 have lost one or more teeth. Recent research indicates a potential relationship between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Studies have found that women with osteoporosis have three times the potential for loss of teeth than unaffected women. As well, other dental problems can occur with low bone density in the jaw, including:
• Difficulty with loose or ill-fitting dentures
• Oral surgery with less successful results
• The jawbone becomes more susceptible to periodontal bacteria, increasing the risk for periodontitis and tooth loss
Screening for Osteoporosis Using Dental X-Rays
It has been implied that dental x-rays are an effective screening tool for osteoporosis as bone density is easily distinguished. Because our dentists at Alabama Family Dentistry emphasize the twice yearly dental visit, we are in the unique position to help identify people with low bone density. We can encourage patients who appear at risk for osteoporosis to communicate with their doctors about their bone health.
Effects of Osteoporosis Treatments on Oral Health
How do treatments and supplements used to optimize skeletal bone density influence dental health? The answer has not yet been determined, although scientists are optimistic that treatments to optimize skeletal bone density will also favorably promote oral health. The only drawback to date is a link between bisphosphonates, a family of medications used to treat osteoporosis, and the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw. However, the association has surfaced only when large intravenous doses are used as a cancer treatment, and is very rare in conjunction with oral forms of the medication.
Alabama Family Dentistry’s Tips for Healthy Bones
Most important, as with most health issues, is maintaining a wholesome lifestyle. These tips help optimize your bone health:
• Eat a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
• Regular physical activity or exercise is crucial, especially weight-bearing activities including walking, jogging, dancing, and weight training.
• No smoking, and alcohol consumption in moderation.
Contact Alabama Family Dentistry immediately if you experience problems with loose teeth, detached, bleeding or receding gums, and problems with fit of dentures. We provide comprehensive , diagnostic treatment and preventive service to patients living in Birmingham, Gardendale, Warrior, Sumiton, and surrounding communities.