Oral Health and Bone Disease
- Introduction to oral health and bone disease
- How does skeletal bone density affect the teeth?
- Is there a link between periodontal disease and bone health?
- Can dental X-rays detect osteoporosis?
- Does treating osteoporosis improve my oral health?
- Where can I find tips on improving my bone health?
- Where can I find more information on oral health and bone disease?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Introduction to Oral Health and Bone Disease
Osteoporosis and tooth loss are health concerns that affect many older men and women. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become less dense and more prone to fracture. This disease can affect any bone in the body, although the bones in the hip, spine, and wrist are most often affected. In the United States today, 10 million individuals already have osteoporosis and 34 million more have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for this disease.
Research suggests that there is a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. The bone in the jaw supports and anchors our teeth. When the jaw bone becomes less dense, tooth loss can occur. Tooth loss affects approximately one-third of adults 65 years and older.
Skeletal Bone Density and Dental Concerns
The portion of the jaw bone that supports our teeth is known as the alveolar process. Several studies have found that the loss of alveolar bone is linked to an increase in loose teeth (tooth mobility) and tooth loss. Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those who do not have the disease.
Low bone density in the jaw can result in other dental problems as well. For example, older women with osteoporosis may be more likely to have difficulty with loose or ill-fitting dentures and may have less optimal outcomes from oral surgical procedures.
Periodontal Disease and Bone Health
It is estimated that periodontal disease affects up to 80 percent of men and women in the United States. Periodontitis is a chronic infection that affects the gums and the bones that support the teeth. Bacteria and the body's own immune system break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. The teeth may eventually become loose, fall out, or have to be removed.
While tooth loss is a well-documented consequence of periodontitis, the relationship between periodontitis and skeletal bone density is less clear. However, some studies have found a strong and direct relationship between bone loss, periodontitis, and tooth loss. It is possible that the loss of alveolar bone mineral density leaves bone more susceptible to periodontal bacteria, increasing the risk for periodontitis and tooth loss.
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