One of the most common ailments associated with growing older as a woman is the onset of osteoporosis. Frequently associated with bone-breaking falls, this condition also has a role to play for your dentist as well. While osteoporosis doesn’t necessarily affect your teeth, it is still an important player in your oral health. And your dentist may be able to spot it before you do!
Osteoporosis decreases the density of the bones, resulting in a heightened risk of fracture. Over 40 million people in the United States alone are affected, and women are primary targets, up to four times more likely to develop the condition than men are. Having a healthy diet and lifestyle while young goes a long way toward preventing osteoporosis. But if the condition already exists, this means you will need a different approach with your dental care.
Osteoporosis can weaken the jawbone (and other major joints), destroying it by creating pain, infection and swelling and even exposed bone. Medications to treat the condition can also slow the growth of new bone, unfortunately, creating a sort of double-whammy for oral care. Without treatment, arthritis can set in as well.
Gum disease and loosening teeth are also a side effect of osteoporosis. It is not uncommon for women suffering from the condition to need dentures as they lose teeth or to find their dentures no longer fit as well as they once did. The condition makes dental treatments or surgeries more complex as well.
The primary signs of osteoporosis in the mouth are a receding gum line and loose teeth. Therefore, having regular visits to a dentist you trust is critical in catching and treating the potential effects of osteoporosis on your oral health. Tell your dentist if you are taking an medication for osteoporosis. If your dentist suspects osteoporosis, it is important to convey that information to your medical doctor as soon as possible. Catching the condition early can make a lot of difference in the quality of life you experience afterward!
If you have a question about any of these diseases and their link to your health, or if you simply want to maintain your oral health, contact us today!