Many people believe that osteoporosis is a bone thinning condition that happens only to aging women. While reaching menopause does increase a woman’s risk of developing osteoporosis, aging in general, as well as a lack of Vitamin D and calcium, can make bones more fragile. As such, this reduction in bone density also affects a great deal of older men. While many older adults don’t even know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone, it’s actually their holistic dentist who may first notice this condition. While the condition of your teeth is often an indicator of plenty of other medical conditions, your oral health can show early signs of osteoporosis.
Understand How Osteoporosis Affects the Jawbone
Bone is a living tissue, and it is constantly breaking down and being replaced. Osteoporosis, however, is the condition that sets in when new bone can’t keep up with the removal of old bone – and that includes the strength and integrity of your jawbone. While 40 million Americans have or are at high risk for osteoporosis, typically beginning around age 50, tooth loss is a very common problem for people over age 65. People with osteoporosis are about three times more likely to have tooth loss, negative outcomes after oral surgery, and other dental issues.
Oral Signs of Osteoporosis
Any oral health problems can have an effect on an older adult’s overall well-being. The inability to eat well because of unstable teeth of course impacts nutrition and good health in general. Once you reach a certain age, your holistic dentist will be on the lookout for signs of osteoporosis in your mouth, including:
- Tooth loss: If you have low bone mineral density, you are more likely to lose teeth. If your teeth are loose, don’t wait for them to fall out before you contact your dentist.
- Gum disease: Tooth loss is a side effect of gum disease. The more decayed and infected your gums become, the less secure your teeth will be in their sockets. 3 of the biggest threats to your aging smile
- Bone loss: Bone loss within the jaw and around your teeth could indicate bone loss in other parts of your body.
- Ill-fitting dentures: If your jawbone is not strong enough to hold onto your dentures, or if you need your dentures replaced far too often, this may signal to your dentist that bone loss has impacted the ability to successful wear this prosthesis.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS) also suggests that the X-rays your dentist takes cold be a good osteoporosis screening tool that highlights patients with normal bone density and those who are lacking.
Fighting Against the Oral Health Side Effects of Osteoporosis
It’s not possible for your dentist to help you strengthen your bones. Your DNA, as well as your diet and activity level, are the greatest factors in determining your likelihood of developing osteoporosis. A holistic dentist can, however, create a new foundation for your teeth if tooth loss has become a reality. Because dental implants replace the roots of your teeth, they are able to stimulate the jaw bone and maintain the jaw support that your face needs to keep its normal shape and not sink in on itself as is known to happen with some older adults.
Dental implants are a permanent solution that doesn’t need to be removed liked dentures, nor do you run the risk of losing the implants like you might an ill-fitting set of dentures. Dental implants look like natural teeth and, at the same time, do their part in combating the oral health side effects of osteoporosis.
Do you suspect that osteoporosis has settled into your jaw? Are you afraid that a systemic affliction is impacting your oral health? Speak with holistic dentist Dr. Yolanda Cintron at the International Center for Dental Excellence to discuss your health and wellness and develop a plan for your healthy future.