11 Jul Women’s Dental Health and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a deterioration of the bone that mainly occurs due to insufficient calcium consumption. The disease has become common in the United States, especially in the elderly who often fail to intake their daily calcium requirements. It has been found that eating a healthy diet high in calcium-rich foods has far greater benefits than depending on calcium supplements.
Dental health is significantly affected by osteoporosis and can lead to severe tooth loss from the weakening of the foundational bone that holds teeth in place. Those who practice poor oral hygiene and develop periodontal disease (the breakdown of gum tissue and underlying bone deterioration from oral bacteria) are much more prone to suffer tooth loss and complications arising from it.
Women have a much greater susceptibility to osteoporosis and, therefore, related dental problems. This comes via a two-fold process. First of all, women lose a great deal of calcium throughout their lives from their menstrual periods. Calcium exits their bodies through the loss of blood and, if not adequately replaced, can lead to earlier and more severe cases of osteoporosis.
The second problem lies in hormonal changes that occur during menopause. Again, unless therapy is pursued to replace hormone imbalances, bone deterioration occurs more rapidly and more severely. The combination of calcium loss and hormonal changes can add to a more rapid deterioration of the jawbone which causes more pronounced cases of tooth mobility and eventual loss.
Denture wearers are also affected by osteoporosis. The bone structure that holds dentures into their correct positions can deteriorate and change which leads to loose and uncomfortable dentures. Dentures that do not fit properly can aggravate the gums and produce sores, infection and other oral problems. Those who have osteoporosis and wear dentures will find they need to schedule more frequent visits to their dentist in order to have new dentures made to fit their changing jawbone structure. Women suffering from osteoporosis face other oral hurdles as well. For example, surgical procedures for dental issues are recommended less often.
The best method for women to ensure good bone health is to eat a well-balanced with extra foods containing calcium and vitamin D. Good dental hygiene should also be practiced while avoiding sugary foods and drinks, smoking and alcohol consumption which increase oral bacteria growth. Regular exercise should also be performed to strengthen bones. And, of course, regular visits to the dentist will help optimize oral health and detect the early stages of osteoporosis.
Want to see all the other health issues that can stem from not taking care of your teeth? Check out our interactive dental resource! It’ll change the way you think about oral health!
This article is part of our blog series, “The Deadly Consequences of Poor Dental Care“
Bando K, Nitta H, et al. “Bone mineral density in periodontally healthy and edentulous postmenopausal women.” Ann Periodontol 1998;3:322-326.
Tezal M, Wactawski-Wende J, et al. “The relationship between bone mineral density and periodontitis in postmenopausal women.” J Periodontol 2000;71:1492-1498.