Osteoporosis is a health concern that many older men and women face, and researchers have found that it can have a significant effect on your oral health. Osteoporosis can affect any bone in the body, causing it to lose density and increasing the risk of fracture. More than 53 million people in the United States are either currently suffering from the disease or are at high risk due to low bone mass. Because osteoporosis can also cause the jawbone to become less dense, often resulting in tooth loss, this health issue can become a significant oral health concern.
Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those who do not suffer from the disease. Additionally, low bone density can also cause other oral health concerns, such as ill-fitting dentures and lower success rates with oral surgical procedures. Some studies have also found a relationship between bone loss, periodontitis, and tooth loss. Researchers believe that it is possible that the loss of alveolar bone density (the bone responsible for supporting teeth) can make people more susceptible to periodontal bacteria, which increases the risk for periodontitis and tooth loss. Because of this relationship, some industry experts have suggested that dental x-rays can be used as a screening tool for osteoporosis. Other symptoms that could help your dentist identify the disease include loose teeth, gums detaching from the teeth or receding gums, and ill-fitting or loose dentures.
There isn’t enough evidence to show whether traditional osteoporosis treatments have beneficial effects on oral health, but scientists are hopeful that optimizing skeletal bone density will have a positive impact on dental health. In addition to medical treatments, there are healthy lifestyle habits you can practice to help keep your bones strong. In addition to eating a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular physical exercise, especially weight-bearing activities like walking and dancing, can help keep bones strong. Also, avoid tobacco use and limit alcohol intake. Be sure to discuss any problems you notice (loose teeth, detached gums, loose dentures, etc) with your dentist or doctor. As with most health concerns, early detection is crucial in the success of treatment.