Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis
At Fusion Dental Specialists, we are experts in treating, and preventing, periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, is a progressive condition that can significantly impact the health of your mouth. It occurs as a result of a buildup of plaque and oral bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria attack your gum tissue, sparking an inflammatory response from your immune system. Inflamed gums pull away from your teeth, allowing bacteria to fall below the gum line. Bacteria then attack your periodontal ligaments, which support your teeth, and your jawbone. Many people think that periodontal disease only affects the health of your mouth. However, there are many other health conditions that have been associated with the disease, including osteoporosis.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the health of your bones. Your body loses bone mass or stops producing as much bone, leading to your bones becoming brittle and fragile. As a result, they are much more likely to fracture. Osteoporosis is common amongst older adults, in particular, post-menopausal women. It is very difficult to detect in the early stages, as it has no signs or symptoms. It is usually only detected after a person has experienced a bone fracture.
The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis
So, if periodontal disease affects the mouth, and osteoporosis affects your bones, what, exactly, is the connection between the two? There have been a couple of connections found. First, in post-menopausal women, the lack of estrogen leads to a faster deterioration of bone mass, as well as faster attachment loss of the periodontal ligaments, which are meant to keep your teeth stable.
The other link between periodontal disease and osteoporosis is low mineral density. This issue thought to be one of the causes of osteoporosis. When you have periodontal disease, the bacteria attack your bone and periodontal ligaments. As a result, the bone weakens and resorbs. While osteoporosis cannot cause gum disease (or the other way around), the two conditions can work in conjunction with one another, and cause a faster degradation of your jawbone, and put you at a higher risk for tooth loss.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The diagnosis of periodontal disease, which involves the use of dental x-rays, can also spot osteoporosis. The severity of the bone loss in the jaw may point to osteoporosis elsewhere in the body, thus allowing you to get the treatment you need.
Treating periodontal disease can stop the bacterial attack on your jawbone, thus reducing the amount of bone loss experienced. Treatment for osteoporosis may also be needed. This may involve exercising, a healthy diet and medications or dietary supplements. For post-menopausal women, estrogen replacement can help to reduce the rate of attachment and bone loss, along with the rate of gum tissue inflammation that leads to periodontal disease in the first place.
Regular dental visits will allow us to assess the condition of your mouth, spotting signs of periodontal disease before they become serious. We can also use digital x-rays to monitor the health of your jawbone. We can also assess your risk factors based on your family and medical histories.
If you are faced with periodontal disease, getting treatment as soon as possible is imperative for maintaining the health of your mouth. Contact Fusion Dental Specialists today at (503) 653-9517 to schedule your appointment.