Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis

Periodontal disease is characterized by a progressive loss of supportive gingival tissue in the gums and jawbone.  It is the number one cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world.  Periodontal disease occurs when toxins found in oral plaque inflame and irritate the soft tissues surrounding the teeth.  If left untreated, bacteria colonies initially cause the systematic destruction of gum tissue, and then proceed to destroy the underlying bone tissue.

Osteoporosis is a common metabolic bone disease which frequently occurs in postmenopausal women, and occurs less frequently in men.  Osteoporosis is characterized by bone fragility, low bone mass and a decrease in bone mineral density.  Many studies have explored and identified a connection between periodontal disease and osteoporosis.

A study conducted at the University of New York at Buffalo in 1995 concluded that post-menopausal women who suffered from osteoporosis were 86% more likely to also develop periodontal disease.

Reasons for the Connection

Though studies are still being conducted in order to further assess the extent of the relationship between osteoporosis and periodontal disease, the researchers have thus far made the following connections:

  • Estrogen deficiency – Estrogen deficiency accompanies menopause and also speeds up the progression of oral bone loss.  The lack of estrogen accelerates the rate of attachment loss (fibers and tissues which keep the teeth stable are destroyed).

  • Low mineral bone density – This is thought to be one of several causes of osteoporosis, and the inflammation from periodontal disease makes weakened bones more prone to break down.  This is why periodontitis can be more progressive in patients with osteoporosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Osteoporosis and periodontal disease are much less dangerous if they are diagnosed in the early stages.  Once a diagnosis has been made, the dentist will generally work with the patient’s doctor to ensure that both diseases are effectively controlled.

Here are some methods commonly used to diagnose and treat the diseases:

  • Routine dental x-rays – X-rays can be effectively used to screen for bone loss in the upper and lower jaw, and the dentist can provide interventions for preventing and treating periodontal disease.  It is believed that minimizing periodontal disease will help treat osteoporosis.

  • Estrogen supplements – Providing post-menopausal women with estrogen supplements lowers the rate of attachment loss and also lowers gingival inflammation, which in turn protects the teeth from periodontal disease.

  • Assessment of risk factors – Dentists and doctors are able to closely monitor the patients that are at an increased risk of developing both diseases by assessing family history, medical history, X-ray results, current medications and modifiable risk factors.  Tobacco use, obesity, poor diet and estrogen deficiency can all be managed using a combination of education, support and prescription medications.

If you have any questions about periodontal disease and its connection with osteoporosis, please ask your dentist.

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Testimonials

I needed to find a replacement for dental care and chose Dr. Hausman. His overall professionalism and choice of staff is outstanding. He takes the necessary time with you to ensure your total dental issues are resolved. He discovered a tumor on my upper palate that was ultimately taken care of with early treatment. He also was able to offer implant alternatives and ensure overall tooth stabilization w/o spending a fortune. I highly recommend him and his staff for total dental care.

Michael W.

Pleasant fast and knowledgeable.
Everyone in this office is so nice!! Here is how this practice is different than every other dentist I've seen:
1. There are TV monitors in every room where they display pictures of your teeth, X-rays , etc. While they're not displaying items pertaining to dental care, the hygienist or doctor display pictures of their hobbies. Becky is a farm girl at heart, she has pictures of her farm, antique tractor and her dog Kentucky. Doctor H. Is an avid fisherman. He has pictures from all over the world with his catch of the day.
The other main difference is Doctor Hausman's professional and technical abilities. He can prep and fill a cavity in like 3 minutes flat. He is like a cavity assassin. Him and his dental assistant complement each other perfectly, as she acts as extensions of his own hands.
The last, and most important for some, thing to mention is that he and his hygienist are trained to work "not in your face" . Other dentist's offices can make you feel so claustrophobic, but never this one.
This place is great, give it a try if you are in town.

Patrick II G.

Longmeadow Dental Care is THE practice that we are glad to have to take care of our dental care. On top of the excellent care provided we noticed the attention to detail, the extreme friendliness, the no-pressure and the listening to our concerns by the Dr and his "crew". This is what a dental practice should be

J.C.

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