For years, osteoporosis had the misconception of being a disease that only impacted little old ladies. Certainly postmenopausal women are at risk for the disease, however men and women of all ages can fall victim to bone loss and decreased bone density. In America, 40 million people have already been diagnosed with the condition or considered high risk because of their low bone mass.
Osteoporosis is a condition where bone density is lost courtesy of depleting calcium supplies and odds of getting a bone fracture are gained. Although the condition primarily impacts hips, spines and wrists, it can affect any bone in the body including the jawbone. Since that body part is where teeth are supposed to be firmly anchored, the relationship between osteoporosis and dental health is a fragile one.
Once upon a time, theories surrounding dental health were vague and individuals thought that tooth decay was caused by something caused a tooth worm. Years of scientific discovery have disproved that myth as well as proving that cause and effect relationship between the mouth and how the body functions in general. Osteoporosis is just one medical condition that can lead to slews of dental problems including tooth loss and gum disease.
The weakened bone structure associated with osteoporosis can cause teeth to separate from the jawbone, leaving little pockets of space behind. Those spaces are notorious for being a perfect hiding spot for excess dental plaque and can eventually lead to a life-threatening infection called a dental abscess. Prior to that happening, the dental plaque (a community of oral bacteria) can eat away at an otherwise healthy mouth and destroy dental pulp and cause tooth erosion. This can lead to dental problems including ill-fitting dentures, tooth loss, advanced periodontal disease and make it difficult for patients to handle some dental surgery procedures.
Although women with osteoporosis have a risk of tooth loss three times greater than their stronger boned friends, men are also at risk for the condition. According to the American College of Physicians (ACP) osteoporosis is expected to spike by 50 percent over the next 15 years. Men need to take heed as statistics have shown that gentlemen have double the odds of dying from a hip fracture than their female counter parts. Some men are at greater risk than others for developing the condition and they include:
Regardless if you are a man or a woman diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are a myriad of treatment options available. Only after receiving a proper diagnosis from a doctor, patients can expect several treatment options such as prescriptions medicine, diet modifications more aligned with the new Government Nutrition Plate, a prescribed exercise regime, vitamin supplements and general lifestyle modifications.
In addition to targeting the osteoporosis, individuals must also follow a strict oral hygiene regime of brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and partaking in regular dentist visits. Those practices will help remove harmful levels of dental plaque and allow a dentist to implement preventative dentistry to ward off dental health problems caused by the condition. Osteoporosis patients looking to find a great dentist to assist on the task can call 1-800-DENTIST to get connected to a dentist in their area.