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How Osteoporosis Affects Oral Health

By Bruce Wilderman on December 30, 2016

A patient smiling at the dentist's officeIt should come as no surprise that your general health can affect your dental health. This is why the team at our Philadelphia restorative dentistry practice takes a holistic approach to dental care. By improving general wellness, you can improve dental wellness and vice versa.

Healthy bones are an important part of a smile that lasts and looks great. People who suffer from osteoporosis face a number of unique oral hygiene and health issues. Let's take a moment to explore.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition in which a person's bones become weak and brittle. Over time, the weakness of the bones means that even minor stress on the bones themselves can lead to serious fractures and injuries. While osteoporosis can affect all people, Asian and Caucasian women face the highest risk of developing the condition. Osteoporosis typically becomes more of an issue in older people than younger people.

The bones, like your skin, are in a constant state of renewal, with new bone created as the old bone is broken down. Osteoporosis is the result of your bones not being able to create new bone structure as fast as it used to.

Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of osteoporosis include the following:

  • Loss of height with advanced age
  • Persistent issues with back pain
  • Stooped or hunched posture
  • Frequent problems with bone fractures

During regular visits with your doctor, the health of your bones can be properly assessed.

Effects on Dental Health and Wellness

Since osteoporosis leads to weaker bones, the condition increases a number of problems related to jawbone health. Fractures of the jaw and damage to the jaw and jaw joint are more likely in people who suffer form osteoporosis. Tooth loss may become more likely in that the jaw may not be as durable and able to support teeth the the root structure of the teeth.

For people who are missing a tooth or a few teeth, osteoporosis can result in the loss of bone density along the dental arch. This can cause dentures and bridges to fit poorly because of the change in jawbone density. This can, in turn, result in changes to your appearance as well as your ability to eat certain foods.

Treatments for Osteoporosis

When it comes to treating osteoporosis, there are a number of options to consider. In a number of cases, bisphosphonates may be prescribed. These drugs are designed to prevent the loss of bone mass. They are generally effective, though interestingly enough, long-term use of bisphosphonates can lead to issues with the thighbone and the jawbone. Dentla exams are recommended before being prescribed bisphosphonates.

Patients may also want to consider hormone therapy, which can help address bone loss in certain instances. Typically hormone therapy is not as effective or as well-suited in treating osteoporosis as bisphosphonates, so keep that in mind.

How to Prevent Osteoporosis

There are a few general wellness tips to consider that can help prevent or manage osteoporosis:

  • Avoid smoking and the use of tobacco products
  • Avoid excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy body weight/body mass
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take calcium and vitamin D supplements as recommended by your doctor

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care

For more information about improving your dental health and preventing serious issues with wellness, be sure to contact our team of cosmetic and restorative dentistry experts today. Our team looks forward to your visit and discussing your dental treatment options in greater detail.

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