Osteoporosis and oral health – Are they linked?
Is there a connection between Osteoporosis and oral health?
Before dwelling in to osteoporosis and oral health, let’s first understand what is ostoporosis. It is a condition in which the bones become less dense and are more likely to fracture, it is a generalized skeletal disease, which has emerged as a major health problem mostly affecting middle-aged and older individuals. The main causes of osteoporosis are lack of nutrients like vitamin D, advanced age, improper diet, and menopause. This disease can affect any bone in the body, however, the bones in the spine, hip, and wrist are affected more often.
While the disease is associated with several risk factors, one of them is oral health. Conditions such as periodontal disease, reduced jaw bone density, tooth loss, inability to create functional dentures, and temporomandibular disorders could be caused due to Osteoporosis. Women are more susceptible to suffering from osteoporosis, hence, it is no surprise that women also have a higher likelihood of having dental issues and oral health problems. Women with osteoporosis are 5 times more likely to experience tooth loss than those who do not. They are more likely to experience difficulty with healing after oral surgeries, dental procedures, or have ill-fitting dentures.
Osteoporosis and Dental bone loss
Osteoporosis has a huge impact on the jawbone (the alveolar bone, also called the alveolar process, which is the part of the jaw that holds the teeth). The bone here supports the roots of the teeth and keeps them in place that supports the teeth. When the bone starts to weaken, the teeth become loose causing tooth loss. This can also have a direct, negative impact on periodontal disease. Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone – the bone that supports the teeth.
If you are suffering from osteoporosis, it is possible that the loss of alveolar bone’s mineral density leaves the bone more susceptible to periodontal bacteria, which increases the risk of tooth loss and periodontitis.
Osteoporosis and Dental Prosthesis
If bone loss due to osteoporosis is severe it may sometimes become difficult to create functional dentures. And ill-fitting dentures can lead to mouth sores and difficulty while speaking. Elderly ones face more difficulty in chewing.
Osteoporosis has also been considered a risk factor in dental implant failure. However, at Dental Solutions Bangalore, we evaluate the bone quality, try and achieve primary stability which helps us predict the prognosis of implant placement.
This does not mean that patients with Osteoporosis cannot opt for dental implants. However, before the procedure, patients must be explained regarding their systemic condition and informed consent should be obtained.
Effects of osteoporosis treatments on oral health
It is not very clear if osteoporosis treatments have the same beneficial effect on oral health as they do on other bones. However, researchers are hopeful that efforts to strengthen skeletal bone density will have a positive impact on dental health.
But here is one thing you need to know –
Bisphosphonates, a class of drugs that prevents the loss of bone density, are used to treat osteoporosis. The cause of concern is this drug has been linked to the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). The risk of ONJ is highest in patients receiving large doses of IV bisphosphonates, for cancer treatments and low or rare in individuals taking oral forms of the medication for osteoporosis treatment.
So what happens if you’re taking this drug and you need to perform dental work?
Well, it depends on the kind of procedure. For routine dental work, like fillings, cleanings, or crowns, there is absolutely no worry, and no change in your medication is needed.
But before having an invasive procedure—such as an implant, tooth extraction, or oral surgery, ask your doctor if it is alright to skip your medication for the day, and do not forget to mention this to your orthodontist as well.
Osteoporosis and Periodontal Disease – Risk Factors
As stated, there is a direct correlation between osteoporosis and periodontal disease due to a number of risk factors.
- Smoking – a leading cause of oral health issues. It can trigger bone diseases and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improper Diet – A diet lacking proper nutrients like calcium and vitamin D can lead to bone disease, poor dental health and even periodontal disease.
- Excessive caffeine intake – A high intake of caffeine can lead to immune dysfunctions, increasing the likelihood of bone disease and dental issues.
How to keep your bones healthy?
Very important to keep your lifestyle healthy to keep your bones strong. A few steps to help you do this:
- A proper well-balanced diet rich in vitamin D and calcium must be consumed
- Engage in regular physical activity or exercise such as walking, yoga and jogging– Resistance exercises, such as lifting weights, also can strengthen bones
- Quit smoking, and limit the use of alcohol
- Any problems with loose teeth, or receding gums, or ill-fitting dentures, report them at the earliest to your dentist and your doctor so they can diagnose bone disease, if any, at an earlier stage.
If you have oral health issues due to osteoporosis, speak to us today.