What You Need to Know to Maintain Your Oral Health
By the year 2020, it is predicted that more than half of those over age 50 will suffer with some form of osteoporosis. And about one in three women over 50 will experience bone fractures due to osteoporosis. When considering osteoporosis, most people think about the spine “shrinking” or bones becoming brittle. But there is also a direct relationship between osteoporosis and dental health.
At Peace Haven Family Dentistry, we want you to know how you can prevent osteoporosis and how to best manage this disease if you or a loved one is already suffering.
How Osteoporosis Affects Your Body
Osteoporosis is a disease with symptoms of extremely fragile and lesser dense bones, which can affect the spine and all other bones in the body. The main causes of osteoporosis are menopause, aging, and a lack of Vitamin D and/or calcium.
Your bones are essentially an ever-changing, living tissue that is constantly evolving in the body. Your bones go through continuous and balanced resorption (removing and breaking down old bone) while replacing it with new, healthy bone. However, osteoporosis causes more resorption and less regrowth of bone structure, leaving the body out of balance.
If you or a loved one is suffering with osteoporosis, we recommend the following protocols for your oral and dental health.
- Don’t delay or postpone dental treatments. Regular dental visits will ensure the timely correction of any dental issues.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet.
- Eat as many foods that are natural sources of calcium and Vitamin D.
- Be physically active on a regular basis.
- Avoid excessive tobacco and/or alcohol use.
- Report any oral or dental changes as soon as possible (e.g., loose teeth, ill-fitting dentures, receding gum lines, detached gums).
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Osteoporosis and Dental Health
The bones in your face and, yes, your teeth and the jawbone that supports your teeth are also made of calcium. So, it’s important to know that osteoporosis can also have a damaging effect on your teeth and jawbones. Osteoporosis can also prompt other oral and dental health issues, including gum or periodontal diseases and tooth loss.
Dental and oral issues resulting from osteoporosis tend to affect women more than men, especially women who are experiencing menopause. In addition, even if you have no teeth or wear dentures, your oral and dental health can still be affected by osteoporosis. The disease can alter the ridges or shape of your jawbone that hold your dentures in place. These changes can result in poor-fitting dentures. So, your dentures may need to be replaced more often to maintain proper function.
To prevent osteoporosis, recent medical studies (JAMA’s Internal Medicine) suggest that, due to a possible link between continued calcium supplements and the occurrence of heart disease, individuals increase calcium and Vitamin D intake through natural foods.
At Peace Haven Family Dentistry, we recommend the following calcium- and Vitamin D-rich foods.
- Cottage cheese
- Lean meats
- Calcium-fortified foods
In many cases, osteoporosis can be prevented if you take action to care for your body now. And if you are already suffering with osteoporosis, it is possible to slow down the effects of the disease by taking better care of yourself.
Do you have concerns about osteoporosis and your dental health?