Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become thin and
porous, decreasing bone strength and leading to increased risk of
breaking a bone. While it is often associated with women over the age of 50,
osteoporosis can strike at any age, and affects both men and women.
According to Osteoporosis Canada, at least 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men will suffer from an
osteoporotic fracture during their lifetime.
Reduced bone density can also affect your mouth. As part of your regular dental exam, your dentists can detect changes in your mouth that may be signs of osteoporosis, such as:
- Receding gums: A common condition that can
be caused by several factors, one of which is bone loss.
- Bone loss in the jaw and
around the teeth: This may be a sign of bone loss in
other parts of the body.
loss: Studies suggest that women with low bone
mineral density tend to lose more teeth.
- Gum or periodontal
disease: Gum disease contributes to bone loss.
Furthermore, bone loss associated with a combination of periodontal
disease and osteoporosis is a major predictor of tooth loss in
- Ill-fitting dentures in
post-menopausal woman. Studies show that
post-menopausal women with osteoporosis need new dentures three
times more often after age 50 than women without osteoporosis. Bone
loss may become so severe that it may be impossible to create
functional dentures. Without the aid of dentures to chew many types
of food, older patients may suffer severe nutritional
dentist suspects you have may be suffering from this bone disorder,
he or she can refer you to a physician for medical assessment and
Important: It is important to tell your dentist of any medications you are
taking prior to dental treatment. Certain medicines (bisphosphonates) used to
strengthen bones have been associated with a rare but serious condition called
osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) that can cause severe damage to the jawbone. Learn more
There are many steps you can take to reduce your risk of osteoporosis that can also benefit your dental health such as:
- Eat well: include calcium and vitamin D in your diet
- Exercise on a daily basis
- Avoid smoking
- Decrease caffeine and alcohol intake
Learn more from Osteoporosis Canada: Osteoporosis Facts & Statistics and Health Canada: Seniors and Aging - Osteoporosis