Posts Tagged ‘Osteoporosis’

The Relationship Between Oral Health and Osteoporosis

Friday, February 28th, 2014

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Bone density affects all parts of our bodies, not just our spines and hips. In this way, osteoporosis, or the thinning of bones, has an immediate connection to tooth loss. According to the National Institutes of Health, women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those without the bone disease.

In the U.S., roughly 40 million people already have osteoporosis or are at-risk due to bone  density. The word osteoporosis literally means “porous bones” in Greek, and the condition occurs when our bones lose calcium and minerals, causing them to become weak and brittle. Bone is a living tissue that constantly regenerates, yet when the creation of the new bone doesn’t keep pace with the removal of old bone, osteoporosis kicks in. As a result, people are more prone to a painful fracture, even while doing everyday tasks, such as bending over or taking out the trash.

In 2009, a study conducted by Dr. Nicopoulou-Karayianni at the University of Athens Dental School evaluated 665 females aged 45 to 70. The number of teeth and bone density in the hips, femoral neck and lumbar spine were counted. The results showed that participants with osteoporosis had an average of three fewer teeth than subjects without the bone disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Skeletal bone density and toothless grins
Though the correlation between skeletal bone density and tooth loss is evident, researchers have tried to probe the causes more deeply. According to the Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, studies indicate a link between the bone disease and bone loss in the jaw. The portion of the jaw bone that anchors teeth is called the alveolar process, and when that bone structure becomes less dense, tooth loss can occur.

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A Drug used to Treat Osteoporosis may Help Reverse Inflammatory Gums and Teeth

Monday, March 12th, 2012

In a post on intelihealth.com, the News ReviewFrom Harvard Medical School has released an article stating that a drug call teriparatide (Forteo) may actually help bone repair for those suffering from periodontitis.

What is periodontitis? Well, most of us know its precursor, gingivitis. Gingivitis symptoms include red, swollen gums that bleed easily.

Periodontitis is when the gum disease has been left untreated as gingivitis and has become more severe. Periodontitis can lead to bone loss under teeth as well as teeth themselves. Symptoms of periodontitis include pus between teeth and gums, gums pulling away from teeth and permanent teeth that are becoming loose.

Teriparatide is currently used to help build bone in people suffering from osteoporosis. According to intelihealth.com, “It [teriparatide] actually stimulates new bone formation. But doctors also know that this drug, if given for more than two years, might increase the risk of developing bone tumors.” Thus, it is not the most commonly prescribed drug to help with osteoporosis.

However, in terms of people with periodontitis, teriparatide might really help, as it “did seem to help stimulate bone growth in the mouth.”

There are plans for more testing with periodontitis suffers. As intelihealth.com states, “We clearly need larger studies of this drug in the treatment of periodontitis. I think we also will see trials of this drug in the treatment of osteonecrosis of the jaw and of other areas of bone.”

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