Women over 50 have the highest risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease that weakens your bones. Eighty percent of all bone fractures in menopausal women over 50 involve fragility caused by osteoporosis. Osteoporosis-related fractures can cause irreversible harm or disfigurement. Many cases of the condition don’t get diagnosed until a fracture happens, and fractures occur during advanced stages. But, what if you could catch the early stages? The solution may lie in your dentist’s chair.
The Link Between Osteoporosis and Dental Health
Osteoporosis and dental issues have many overlapping causes. While no single factor determines either disease, someone with osteoporosis could have a higher risk of oral health problems than someone without it. Similar risks for dental issues and osteoporosis include:
- Insufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D
- Older age
- Tobacco use
- Increased immune system signals
- Genetic history
Also, the symptoms of osteoporosis seem to increase a person’s risk of oral health issues. Osteoporosis can reduce the density of jaw bones, giving teeth a less stable foundation. It also wears down on the alveolar bone, which includes the sockets that keep your teeth in place.
On the bright side, osteoporosis and some dental diseases respond to the same treatments. Medicine meant to treat and prevent osteoporosis can reduce bone loss in the mouth as well.
Signs of Osteoporosis in Your Teeth and Mouth
You could have osteoporosis if you have symptoms like:
- Tooth loss: Women who have osteoporosis have a three times higher chance of losing teeth than women without osteoporosis.
- Bone loss: X-rays show if you have lower mass and density in jaw bones and other bones in your mouth.
- Gum disease: Research shows that osteoporosis and reduced bone mass in the mouth raise the risk of periodontal disease.
- Ill-fitting dentures: Osteoporosis could wear down so much bone that dentures cannot fit in your mouth correctly. It can create discomfort or make it impossible to use dentures at all.
Of course, these problems have a broad range of potential causes. If you have one of these symptoms, you may not have osteoporosis. However, they can serve as warning signs to investigate more closely. Patients over 50 of any gender should consider osteoporosis as a possible reason for these dental issues.
The Importance of Dentist Visits for Women’s Oral and Bone Health
Regular dentist visits could help you detect osteoporosis early. Your dentist has the tools needed to check for bone loss in your mouth. While you can see tooth loss and gum disease with your eyes, you need an X-ray to see the state of your jaw and mouth bones. Since losing bone mass is the main symptom of osteoporosis, discovering this symptom can help you determine if you have the disease. When you visit your dentist, they can rule out any other factors beyond possible signs of osteoporosis. They can also connect symptoms together to figure out your risk.
Contact Gateway Dentistry Group
At Gateway Dentistry Group, we offer general dentistry services to the Grande Prairie area. We happily accept new patients. Contact us by calling 1-780-539-3555 or completing our online form.