As gum disease progresses, it will destroy gums and jawbone permanently, and is the number one reason why adults in the Western world lose teeth. It occurs when plaque is left in the mouth, and bacteria feeds off the plaque upsetting the natural balance in the mouth, and inflaming tissues and gums. If the bacteria is not removed, then it will eventually destroy the gums and then progress to destroy the bone as well.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that is found in many individuals, although women who have been through the menopause are particularly susceptible. Symptoms of this disease include low bone mass, low bone mineral density, and fragile bones. Studies over the years have sought to understand whether there is a connection between gum disease and osteoporosis, and they have found that there is.
A study carried out by the University of New York at Buffalo and published in 1995 demonstrated that women who had been through the menopause and had osteoporosis had an 86% chance of also developing periodontal disease, or gum disease.
Reasons The Connection Exists
There are two particularly compelling reasons why experts believe that there is a direct link between gum disease and osteoporosis:
- Estrogen deficiency. As women go through the menopause, their levels of estrogen drop, and this increases the speed of bone loss in the mouth, so that tissue fibers and gums disappear quicker.
- Low mineral density in bones. Because one of the symptoms of osteoporosis is weaker bone, it means that an individual with gum disease will lose their bone much quicker.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Both periodontal disease and osteoporosis can be managed safely if they are diagnosed early, making it much easier to control them. In many cases, your doctor and your dentist will choose to work together so that both diseases are controlled in tandem. Their methods of diagnosis and treatment will probably include:
- Dental x-rays: this form of radiography is an excellent way to understand just how much bone loss there has been in the jawbone, and this will help your dentist to stop any further damage. This will support your doctor in preventing your osteoporosis.
- Estrogen supplements: supporting the body’s natural supply of estrogen with a supplement will enable the body to lower inflammation in the gums, and fight the bacteria that creates gum disease.
Risk factor: those who are more likely to develop both periodontal disease and osteoporosis can be monitored by their dentist and doctor before any signs of symptoms develop, so that their risk factor can be reduced through lifestyle changes. After understanding your personal and your family medical histories, lifestyle changes may include reducing tobacco use, losing weight, improving your diet, and taking estrogen supplements.
Call (619) 640-5100 for a free consultation with Dr Paige Woods to discuss Gum disease prevention.