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Periodontal disease & Osteoporosis

Periodontal disease is characterized by the gradual loss of supportive gingival tissue in the gums and jawbone, standing as the primary cause of tooth loss among adults in developed nations. This condition arises when toxins within oral plaque inflame and irritate the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. Left untreated, bacterial colonies initiate the systematic destruction of gum tissue, progressing to undermine the underlying bone tissue.

Osteoporosis, a prevalent metabolic bone disease, commonly affects postmenopausal women and occurs less frequently in men. It is marked by bone fragility, low bone mass, and a decline in bone mineral density. Numerous studies have explored the link between periodontal disease and osteoporosis. A 1995 study at the University of New York at Buffalo found that postmenopausal women with osteoporosis were 86% more likely to develop periodontal disease.

Reasons for the Connection:

  • Estrogen Deficiency: Menopausal estrogen deficiency accelerates oral bone loss by hastening the rate of attachment loss, leading to the destruction of fibers and tissues that stabilize teeth.

  • Low Mineral Bone Density: Periodontal disease exacerbates weakened bones prone to breakdown, particularly in patients with osteoporosis.

male and female smiling standing by the ocean

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Early diagnosis significantly reduces the risks associated with osteoporosis and periodontal disease. Dentists collaborate with patients' doctors to effectively control both conditions once diagnosed. Common methods for diagnosis and treatment include:

  • Routine Dental X-rays: Effective for screening bone loss in the upper and lower jaw, with interventions provided to prevent and treat periodontal disease, potentially aiding in osteoporosis treatment.

  • Estrogen Supplements: Postmenopausal women receiving estrogen supplements experience reduced attachment loss rates and diminished gingival inflammation, providing protection against periodontal disease.

  • Assessment of Risk Factors: Close monitoring of patients at increased risk for both diseases involves evaluating family history, medical history, X-ray results, current medications, and modifiable risk factors. Managing factors like tobacco use, obesity, poor diet, and estrogen deficiency involves a combination of education, support, and prescription medications.

If you have any questions about periodontal disease and its connection with osteoporosis, please contact our practice.

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