The newsLINK Group - Dentist Osteoporosis

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Periodontist – Gum Disease Topics: Dental, Osteoporosis Title: Why Patients with Osteoporosis Should See a Dental Specialist Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Doctors have known for a long time that there is a strong connection between people’s oral health and their overall medical health. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have regular dental checkups to screen for potential health problems. Editorial: Why Patients with Osteoporosis Should See a Dental Specialist 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Doctors have known for a long time that there is a strong connection between people’s oral health and their overall medical health. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have regular dental checkups to screen for potential health problems. Routine twice-yearly visits conveniently give your dentist the opportunity to screen for serious health problems. One example of a common disease whose treatment affects dental health is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a problem mainly because of the bone fractures that are associated with it. Dealing with the fractures is a heavy physical and financial burden. More importantly for someone who is elderly, however, bone breakage is often a precursor to dying. Even a minor fracture can increase the risk of dying, but if the break happens to affect the hip then for women the risk of dying doubles for about ten years. For men, it triples. A fracture somewhere else increases the risk of dying for about five years. Caucasian women are at greatest risk for developing osteoporosis, with more than 30 percent of them developing this problem. In comparison, the general population is only affected ten percent of the time. Although doctors and dentists did not originally think there was a connection between osteoporosis and periodontal disease, evidence has now shown a clear relationship between the two. As an example of the way osteoporosis is connected to periodontitis, osteoporosis can weaken the bones of the jaw. A woman who develops osteoporosis is three times likelier to lose her teeth than a woman with strong, healthy bones. To the extent that a woman has also lost bone mass in the jaw, it becomes more difficult to fit her with dentures. By controlling periodontal disease, however, it is possible to prevent the loss of teeth. Both diseases, osteoporosis and periodontitis, are chronic and are caused by more than one factor. Genetics and lifestyle are both involved. Importantly, many of the factors that can cause these diseases are shared. Successfully controlling these diseases is easier if several risk factors can be removed: Women are at most danger of osteoporosis and periodontitis after menopause because of the drop in the body’s production of estrogen. Estrogen replacement therapy, although controversial, does seem to protect postmenopausal women from both diseases. Food choices matter. As a result, making dietary changes can be effective. Smoking tobacco is bad not just for its potential to cause cancer but also because it can cause bone loss. Eliminating alcohol also helps. Drinking alcohol has been identified as a risk factor for periodontitis because it increases the likelihood of infection. Alcohol is connected to osteoporosis because of the effect of alcohol on calcium. Essentially, the alcohol leaches calcium from the bones. Weight-bearing exercise can strengthen an individual’s bones. The medications that are often used to treat osteoporosis can have side effects. If a patient is dealing with osteoporosis or cancer, treatment of periodontitis can become correspondingly more difficult. The same is true if a patient has an inflammatory condition such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. To ensure that patients get the best possible care, the dentist may choose to consult with one or more doctors and a periodontist, or may also have patients with these diseases go to a periodontist at key points during treatment. Sources: Oral Health Maintenance Important for Patients with Osteoporosis.docx, from Sophie http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11980421

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