The newsLINK Group - The Impact of Osteoporosis on Gum Disease

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Periodontist – Gum Disease Topics: Osteoporosis, Gum Disease Title: The Impact of Osteoporosis on Gum Disease Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: If you are one of the many people who has osteoporosis, you are concerned about your bones. Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become more porous and, therefore, so weak that they are also more susceptible to breaking. Editorial: The Impact of Osteoporosis on Gum Disease 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 If you are one of the many people who has osteoporosis, you are concerned about your bones. Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become more porous and, therefore, so weak that they are also more susceptible to breaking. It affects about 44 million U.S. citizens; most of them (68 percent) are women. It is the underlying reason for more than 1.5 million bone fractures every year; doctors estimate the cost to be $14 billion annually. Once someone reaches the age of 50, it is likely that half the women and one fourth of the men will suffer a bone fracture during the remainder of their life as a result of developing osteoporosis. But you should be concerned about more than your bones. You should also be worried about your teeth, because osteoporosis affects your jaw bones and that means it also affects how well your teeth are supported by your upper and lower jaw. Scientists have decided that there is probably a link between having osteoporosis and losing bone density in the jaw. They think that as your jaw bones become less dense, the bones don’t support the teeth as well, which can lead to the loss of one or more of your teeth and development of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is bad news. It is caused when you develop chronic bacterial infections in your mouth, especially on the surface of your teeth. You are probably familiar with dental plaque, which forms on your teeth and stays there if you don’t do a good job of brushing your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque excretes toxins that inflame your gum tissue. The first stage, which can usually be treated quite easily, is gingivitis; the gum tissue becomes red, sensitive, and bleeds easily. If untreated, pockets of infection develop between the gum tissue and the teeth. As the gingivitis gets worse, it becomes periodontal disease. Eventually, as the gums deteriorate, the jaw bones are weakened, and the teeth become attached more loosely, at some point it becomes inevitable that your teeth are no longer anchored securely enough to be able to stay in your mouth, and you will lose them. Periodontal disease does more than cause you to lose your teeth, however. It has also been linked to other serious inflammatory illnesses, such as the following: Cardiovascular disease Diabetes Rheumatoid arthritis The Role of the Periodontist If you have developed periodontal disease, you should consider working with a periodontist. This is the exact medical problem periodontists have chosen to study, and they have experience and education in the best way to treat it. Specialists are expected to provide the highest standards of treatment, after all. When you have a problem like periodontal disease, it can really affect your quality of life in many areas. That makes it important for you to call on a periodontist for help so that you can maximize your chances for a happy outcome. Hormone Replacement Therapy If you are a woman, one way to protect yourself might be hormone replacement therapy. Although it was originally thought that hormone replacement therapy was only an appropriate therapy for someone experiencing the symptoms associated with menopause, doctors have now concluded that it can help women who are also suffering from osteoporosis. This is not without some controversy; doctors are still determining the long-term effects of such therapy, such as an increased risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Doctors have at least determined that adverse side effects are less likely if the dosage is small. A study published in August 1999 in the Journal of Periodontology suggested that women benefited from taking estrogen supplements within the first five years of menopause because the supplements slowed down the development of periodontal disease, giving more time to treat it before it became more severe and therefore reducing its effects on a woman’s health. As a woman’s body produces less estrogen because she has passed through menopause,