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08Jul2015

The Link Between Osteoporosis And Gum Disease

WHAT DO OSTEOPOROSIS and gum disease have in common? Bone loss! For anyone with gum disease, osteoporosis, or both… it’s important to know about the correlation between these two conditions.

How Does Gum Disease Cause Bone Loss?

Are you surprised to hear that gum disease can contribute to bone loss? The first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, rarely affects bone structure. But if it progresses to advanced periodontitis, then the infection spreads beneath the teeth to destroy connective gum tissue AND supportive structure in your jaw.

Those With Osteoporosis May Have 85% Greater Periodontitis Risk

A recent study showed an alarmingly high correlation between low bone density and gum disease risk. Bone density was measured using a FRAX score (fracture risk assessment tool). Even disregarding common risk factors like age, smoking, or diabetes, it was shown that patients with osteoporosis have an 85% greater likelihood of periodontal disease.

More research is needed to find the reason for this correlation. However, one factor is important to note: advanced gum disease degrades bone mass in the jaw. For those with already-low bone mass, thanks to osteoporosis, the risk is even greater. Gum disease can very quickly cause a lot of damage.

We’re Looking Out For Your Whole-Body Health

So, if you have gum disease, along with other possible risk factors for osteoporosis, don’t be surprised if we ask you the last time you had a checkup with your doctor. After looking at a dental x-ray, we may recommend that you have your bone health assessed.

In the meantime, take good care of your teeth. Gum disease can be worrying, but it’s preventable with good personal care habits and frequent visits with our team.

The relationship between osteoporosis and gum disease is just one example of the mouth-body health connection. The more we learn, the more we see that what happens in your mouth doesn’t just stay in your mouth. Dental health has an effect on your entire body.

Let us know if you have any questions about your dental health. We’re honored to be your partners in oral health care.

Top image by Flickr user Erin Borrini used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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