15 Apr 2016 Osteoporosis and My Oral Health
When we think about osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become less dense and are more likely to fracture, we tend to think about broken hips and wrists, not dental health. However, oral health and osteoporosis are linked.
This disease can affect tooth loss, the strength of the jaw line and the success of dental implant procedures.
An Overview of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis occurs naturally over time and affects both men and women, although women are more prone to suffer from the condition according to the National Institute of Health. This is due to a variety of factors including heredity and a less active life style when aging. While the disease can impact any bone in the body, hip bones and the spine are usually more affected than other areas. Osteoporosis can usually be treated with medication and diet.
How Osteoporosis Affects Oral Health
When a person has osteoporosis, bones in the mouth can be affected too, resulting in loose teeth, poor fitting dentures and problems with dental implants. When the bone becomes dense and weak, it may not be strong enough to form a bond with the dental implant. People with osteoporosis can still receive dental implants, but they may need to be fitted with a special type of implant. Additionally, healing following dental procedures can take longer.
Osteoporosis Medications and Oral Health
The American Dental Association reminds us to always let our dentist know what medications we are taking. Many medications can affect oral health, especially medications prescribed for osteoporosis. Medicines that can help make bones stronger have been associated with a disease called osteonecrosis, a rare condition that can seriously damage the jawbone. While it can occur on its own, it is usually seen in osteoporosis patients who have just received dental work that affects the bone. Patients should not stop seeing the dentist if they are taking osteoporosis medications, but should visit with the dentist regarding the condition. In fact, because more people see the dentist than the doctor, a dentist may be in a position to help diagnose osteoporosis. Dental X-rays can help determine whether a patient has poor bone density and their dentist can advise them on next steps to take. Just remember to tell always tell your dentist that you have a prescription for bone density medication.
Meanwhile, doctors and dentists are conducting studies to determine whether there is a link between poor bone health and periodontal disease, an infection that affects gums and the bones supporting teeth. Tooth loss has been verified as a result of periodontitis, but more research is needed to link it to bone loss.
Ensuring Healthy Bones
You can follow these steps to make sure your bones stay healthy.
- Report any problems with loose teeth or dentures and receding gums to your dentist
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
Remember oral health and osteoporosis are important topics to discuss with your dentist to ensure strong teeth.