In a recent article published by Smile magazine, the link between periodontitis and osteoporosis is laid bare. I intend to give a short summary of the findings, and then go into detail to see what these findings imply, what they mean and how it changes the way we think about dentistry, and more importantly, how they should change the lives of those who are living with osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become brittle. The bones take on a porous quality, leading to easier breakage, frailty and pain.
This study goes to great lengths to show how and why osteoporosis is linked with periodontitis (the inflammation of the tissues surrounding your teeth, i.e: gum disease), and with the loosening of teeth as the jawbone sucucmbs to osteoporosis. Patients suffering from osteoporosis also tend to lose some of their alveolar tissue (soft tissue underneath the gums), and this will lead to more pronounced tooth loss as well.
The study also suggests that bone grafts can help in healing the osteoporosis, which will also lead to a cure for the periodontitis, and also cites that hormonal therapies can cure both at the same time (hormonal therapies are usually given to patients who are suffering from osteoporosis).
The implications given by this study are pretty straightforward. There is definitely, without a shadow of a doubt a positive correlation between osteoporosis and the appearance of gum disease, or periodontitis (meaning the connection is real). The study also implies that tooth loss will follow the softening of the bones, and that all of this can be reversed.
What patients, especially female patients should think about is why their teeth are falling out, and why their gums are swollen,a dnif that has anything to do with osteoporosis. If you know you have osteoporosis, you need to take very good care of your teeth, and you should go and check in with a doctor the moment you have any sort of swelling, bleeding or anything else with your gums. Other than that, you should take the medications and hormones given for osteoporosis, as this will heal your bones, which will lead to a healing of the gums as well. The human body is, after all, a closed system, and works as a whole.