Gum Disease and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition common in older patients and particularly in women that is characterized by the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time.

Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to form enough new bone, or when the body absorbs too much old bone. The leading cause of osteoporosis is a drop in estrogen in menopausal women, or a drop in testosterone among men. Sufferers of osteoporosis must take extra care in daily activities, as they are at increased risk for bone fractures.

Because periodontal disease can also lead to bone loss, the two diseases have been studied for possible connections. Some researchers believe that routine dental X-rays can show more than cavities. They reveal low bone mineral density and bone loss in the jaw that could signal a risk for underlying bone problems elsewhere, especially in older people

Studies conducted over a period of 10 years also discovered that osteoporosis patients could significantly reduce tooth loss by controlling periodontal disease. Further, it was found that post-menopausal women who suffer from osteoporosis are 86% more likely to also develop periodontal disease.

Osteoporosis: A risk factor for periodontitis

If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is extremely important to take preventative measures against periodontal disease to protect your teeth and oral bones. Treatment of osteoporosis before it has to chance weaken the bones of the jaw is crucial as it is an important factor in letting patients live comfortably with periodontal disease. If osteoporosis has the chance to weaken the surrounding mouth structures, it may be impossible for a patient to be able to reliably hold dentures in their mouth. Even if a person only needs a partial set of dentures, osteoporosis can cause a poor and painful fit inside the mouth.

Thankfully osteoporosis has become slightly easier to detect in the early stages by checking the bone density of teeth and the surrounding bone structures in the mouth during a routine dental examination.

Having the dentist able to see signs of this early is very helpful as a person can start to receive treatment before suffering a painful and potentially weakening fracture.