Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by fragile bones and its vulnerability to fractures. People with osteoporosis usually lose bone density and mass, and have abnormal tissue structure. On the other hand, periodontal diseases are characterized by inflamed and irritated gum tissues that eventually lead to permanent tooth loss. While it may seem that there is no relevant connection between periodontal disease and osteoporosis, research hasshown otherwise.

Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis: An Overview

Oftentimes, the only way to recognize osteoporosis is when a person fractures a bone. This is commonly the first sign that a person has weakened bones due to the disease.

Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis - Toledo Periodontist

With that in mind, emerging research has concluded that diagnosing osteoporosis is as easy as looking into a person’s mouth. The reason behind this is that the quality of the bone strength in the mouth shows reliable indicators of the bone strength in other parts of the body.

When periodontal disease progresses aggressively, it causes a person to permanently lose teeth. The disease occurs when plaque isn’t being removed thoroughly. When it’s left in the mouth for far too long, bacteria starts attacking healthy gum tissues. Upon weakening the gum tissues, blood vessels will tear and leave an opening for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Additionally, the bacteria doesn’t just dissolve gum tissues, it weakens the surrounding bones as well.

Already having low bone density can be a clear indication that a person is at a risk of developing periodontal disease. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Periodontology states that people with osteoporosis have an 86% chance of developing periodontal disease. This is because having low bone density makes it easier for plaque to infect and weaken the surrounding structures in the mouth.

Treatment and Preventive Measures

Diagnosing periodontal disease and osteoporosis in their early stages is key. Since the surrounding structures of the mouth and jaw will have the same conditions as the rest of the bones in the body, it would be easier for the physician and the dentist to control both of the diseases.

Research suggests that minimizing the effects of periodontal disease can help control osteoporosis. If the dentist detects bone loss in the upper and lower jaw, they can provide preventive measures and treatment for periodontal disease. However, it is paramount to remember that osteoporosis must first be controlled. This is to stop the progression of periodontal disease and keep bacteria from attacking weak bone structures in the mouth. Visit your dentist regularly in order to keep periodontal disease in check. The dentist will perform an x-ray in order to assess the bone density in your upper and lower jaw. Visiting your physician can also help indicate if osteoporosis is regressing or progressing.

Risk Factors

Additionally, risk factors include your family history, smoking, and poor diet. Prevent both diseases from entering their late stages by assessing your family’s medical history and your lifestyle. Periodontal disease and osteoporosis must be controlled in order to avoid further complications. A combination of good oral health practices and maintaining a well-balanced diet is key. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning in order to decrease the chances of plaque buildup in the mouth. You can also build stronger bones by performing weight-bearing exercises. Keep in mind that prevention is better than cure.

Once you experience symptoms of the advanced stage of periodontal disease, visit a periodontist. They will perform necessary measures in order to keep the disease from progressing, although some of its effects will be irreversible, such as permanent tooth loss. Fortunately, periodontists also specialize in dental implants in order to replace the natural teeth lost from the disease.