Osteoporosis and gum disease have been linked together by the bone loss evident in both conditions. Those with gum disease, osteoporosis, or who are suffering from both should understand the clear link between the two conditions.
This common metabolic bone disease, occurring primarily in postmenopausal women, is characterized by bone fragility, low bone mass, and decreased bone mineral density. There is an increased risk of fractures, and the condition can also cause issues with oral bone density.
Characterized by progressive loss of gingival tissue in the gums and jawbones, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Toxins in oral plaque become inflamed and irritate the soft tissues in the mouth. Bacteria will eventually colonize, causing the gum and bone tissues to deteriorate.
The Link Between the Two
A University of New York at Buffalo study concluded that postmenopausal women with osteoporosis were 86% more likely to develop periodontal disease. This is caused by estrogen deficiency, which often accompanies menopause. This accelerates the rate of attachment loss, destroying the fibers and tissues that stabilize teeth.
The low mineral bone density that causes osteoporosis also causes inflammation in periodontal disease. The two make ones already weakened to break down. If you have gum disease and other risk factors for osteoporosis, your dentist may ask about your bone health.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Dentists can use several methods to diagnose and treat the diseases: your dentist may be able to diagnose osteoporosis in its initial stages by the quality of bone strength in your mouth. Taking note of oral bone density, your dentist can refer you to your doctor to be screened for osteoporosis. If a diagnosis of osteoporosis and periodontal disease occurs, Dr. Coates can work in tandem with your physician to control both conditions.
- Routine Digital Dental X-rays – X-rays can be used to screen for bone loss in the upper and lower jaw, and the dentist can provide interventions for preventing and treating periodontal disease. It is believed that minimizing periodontal disease will help treat osteoporosis.
- Estrogen supplements – Providing postmenopausal women with estrogen supplements lowers the rate of attachment loss and reduces gingival inflammation, which protects the teeth from periodontal disease.
- Assessment of risk factors – Dentists and physicians can closely monitor the patients at an increased risk of developing both diseases by assessing family and medical history, X-ray results, medications, and modifiable risk factors. Tobacco use, obesity, poor diet, and estrogen deficiency can be managed with education, support, and prescription medications.
Dr. Coates is Ready to Help
Good oral care is a factor in your overall health and well-being. Periodontal disease can contribute to arterial plaque build-up. Research is ongoing, but one thing is evident – proper dental care can help with the onset of osteoporosis.
So, it’s essential to choose the right dental professional and visit them regularly to identify the early signs of periodontal disease and osteoporosis. For more information about the connection between the two and screening methods, make your appointment with Dr. Coates today! You can give our Long Beach office a call at 562-434-6414.