Bone disease like osteoporosis has emerged as a major health problem affecting middle-aged and older individuals. In recent years, researchers have found increasing evidence of links between osteoporosis and oral health conditions.
Keeping your bones healthy has a great effect on the health of your teeth and mouth.
You may be wondering about the relationship between your bones and dental health. It may seem odd, but you must understand that it is the bones that construct the jaw and hold your teeth in place.
Bone diseases such as osteoporosis have a significant effect on your oral health and dental bones. These have increased the risks of contracting the periodontal disease, inability to create functional dentures, reduced jaw bone density, tooth loss, and disorders limiting movement of jaws.
The likelihood of experiencing tooth loss is three times more in case of women with osteoporosis as compared to those who do not have it. Due to the systematic loss of bone density and bone strength, the oral cavity becomes prone to infections leading to the destruction of periodontal tissue.
Bisphosphonate based therapy for osteoporosis and it’s relation with the osteonecrosis of jaws has appeared as a major concern in recent years. Thus, it is imperative that osteoporosis patients for whom bisphosphonate therapy is being recommended should go for their dental checkup prior to the initiation of the therapy.
Here in this current article, we discuss the effect of osteoporosis on oral health, oral implications of osteoporosis therapy.
What is Osteoporosis in Terms of Oral Health?
Osteoporosis is an ailment that leads to a loss in bone density, resulting in weak bones. Due to this, bones become brittle and fragile, they become easily prone to fractures, could be hip fractures as well.
Our bodies are regularly absorbing as well as reconstructing bone tissue. When there is an imbalance in this process, osteoporosis strikes.
In this condition, the body loses too much bone tissue and new bone creation doesn’t keep up with old bone removal. As a result, you may encounter several dental issues impacting your oral health.
This can occur when the body is unable to produce sufficient new bone or absorbs too much bone. Most people have no specific symptoms until they suffer a bone fracture.
Effect of Osteoporosis on Dental Health
People with osteoporosis have a direct relationship with oral and dental health. It can hamper or damage jawbones. It triggers dental and oral health issues, including gum or periodontal diseases and loss of teeth.
Women are at a higher risk than men affected with oral and dental issues as a result of osteoporosis. Women in their menopause phase will also get severely affected unless they are on a therapy designed to replace lost hormones and balance them.
If you think that you don’t have any teeth and wear dentures, make no mistake, the effects of osteoporosis can still affect your dental and oral health. Bone weakness and loss will affect the bony ridges that hold dentures in the proper position, resulting in poor-fitting dentures.
Studies also show that osteoporosis patients are at risk of requiring new dentures more often than those who are not suffering from osteoporosis. There are other risk factors for osteoporosis which you need to understand. The risk factors for osteoporosis including rheumatoid arthritis, compression fractures and dental problems might lead to more complications which you need to know and understand.
Osteoporosis – Signs and Symptoms Affecting Dental Health
Your dentist may detect the first stages of osteoporosis by reviewing your medical history and the results of a dental x-ray and clinical examination. The risk factors can be understood from your medical records. The genetic family history, calcium deficiency, smoking, menopause, excessive caffeine or alcohol intake and an inactive lifestyle all will contribute to the risk factors. Additionally, there will be other medical sign of osteoporosis that will alert your dentist about the possibility of osteoporosis.
- Bone loss in the jaw and around teeth. Bone loss in the mouth is a clear sign of bone loss in other parts of the body. Comparisons of year-to-year dental x-rays and records will indicate a loss in jaw bone mass and the bone around your teeth. This eventually leads to the revelation of the advancing stages of the disease.
- Tooth loss. People suffering from osteoporosis will have low bone mineral density and will have the tendency to lose more teeth.
- Loose or ill-fitting dentures. The severity of bone loss will make it impossible to create functional dentures. Elderly patients will suffer from severe nutritional deficiencies, as without the aid of dentures, many types of food would be out of their menu. Additionally, ill-fitting dentures will lead to mouth sores and difficulty in speaking.
- Gum or Periodontal disease. Periodontal disease will result in bone loss at a much faster pace and will provide a clue to the diagnosis of any other underlying disease.
Osteoporosis and Dental Bone Loss
Remember, by keeping your bones healthy has a significant effect on the health of your mouth in the long term. Your jawbone supports your teeth, and that bone is known as the alveolar process. There is a direct relation between the loss of your alveolar bone and an increase in your tooth loss. This is because when your jawbones start to weaken, your teeth become loose and can even fall out.
Periodontitis is a kind of oral health infection that affects your gums and the bones that support your teeth. Bacteria eat away at the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. The loss of your alveolar bone and the breakdown of the mineral bone density leaves your bones more prone to tooth loss.
There is a major impact of osteoporosis on the jawbone supporting the teeth. Research studies show that a loss in the jawbone is most likely to cause tooth loss or jaw mobility. Low bone density in the jaw triggered by osteoporosis can also lead to other dental issues.
Women suffering from osteoporosis are likely to experience difficulties linked to ill-fitting or loose dentures. Hence various oral and dental surgical procedures on women with osteoporosis will give less desirable results.
Your breakdown in bone density can be caused by chronic diseases. It is a known fact that there is a relationship between periodontitis and other diseases that affect bone density, such as osteoporosis. Although osteoporosis affects everyone, women with osteoporosis need to be more careful during oral surgical procedures.
Women’s Health and Dental Health
Studies have proved that women are more susceptible to suffering from osteoporosis. As a result, women have a higher likelihood of having dental issues and oral health problems. Osteoporosis has a close relationship with breast cancer. It has been found that women with osteoporosis are more likely to have tooth loss than those who do not have the disease.
This condition is true for women who have reached their menopausal phase because of hormone imbalances. The menopause phase is seen to trigger the resorption of bones, triggering a decline in bone density.
This not only increases bone loss in women but can even be the cause of osteoporosis, a kind of bone disease. Under this condition, your bones can become porous and have an increased risk of fractures or your might break a bone.
By taking calcium supplements, you can lower the risk of having osteoporosis. Otherwise, you can increase your calcium intake and undergo hormone therapy to encourage a healthy hormone balance. Weight bearing exercises might be helpful.
If you suffer from osteoporosis, you are more likely to experience difficulty with healing after dental procedures, oral surgeries, or have ill-fitting dentures.
Osteoporosis – Risk Factors and Periodontal Disease
There is a direct correlation between osteoporosis and periodontal disease due to a number of risk factors. Periodontal disease or gum disease is a set of inflammatory conditions that affect the tissues surrounding your teeth.
Smoking – Smoking has become a leading cause of oral health issues. Smoking can trigger bone diseases and increase the risk of osteoporosis if preventive measures are not followed.
Diet – If your diet lacks proper nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, it can eventually lead to bone disease and periodontal disease in the long run.
Imbalance of Hormone – Hormone imbalance due to menopause or low estrogen levels may require the prescribed use of corticosteroids. However, their use is known to cause disorders which often lead to poor bone health and dental issues.
High caffeine intake – Your high intake of caffeine can lead to immune dysfunctions. Thus increasing your likelihood of bone disease and dental problems.
Osteoporosis – Prevention Tips
There are several ways you can help prevent osteoporosis. You should take special care of your diet.
A high-calcium diet is essential in order to prevent osteoporosis and oral health issues. Taking supplements is not sufficient as it does not provide your body with enough nutrients that can come from calcium-rich foods.
Green veggies such as kale leaves and broccoli have fortified calcium, as well as dairy products such as plain yogurt and milk. If you rely on supplements over time, you might experience side effects. These could be indigestion, constipation and increased risk of kidney stones.
Make sure you are getting enough vitamin D. It also helps to decrease your caffeine and alcohol intake and quit smoking.
If you are facing oral health issues due to osteoporosis, discuss them with your doctor today in order to keep up your overall health.
Learn more about the effects of soft drinks on your teeth here.
If you are suffering from osteoporosis, then you must get a dental checkup done frequently. Every time, you notice anything new when it comes to your oral and dental health, visit your dentist. The best way to handle any problem is by not delaying or postponing dental check ups and dental treatments.
Regular dental visits are very important to diagnose and treat any dental and oral problem on time. It is more critical, especially in cases when there is a bone weakness due to osteoporosis. The right diagnosis and the right treatment of osteoporosis commenced on time will help your beautiful smile.