Dentists May Notice Signs of Osteoporosis

Strong Bones, Strong Mouth

We tend to consider broken hips and stooped backs as the most obvious visible signs of osteoporosis, but the best dentists are often among the first, and best, health professionals to detect bone loss, which they do by looking at your teeth.

Dental x-rays are highly effective in helping dentists distinguish people with osteoporosis from those with normal bone density, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Female_ Dentist

“Dentists will often see a set of symptoms – loose or missing teeth, or severe gum disease, for example – and ask questions to determine if osteoporosis is a contributing factor,” she said.

The part of the jawbone that supports the teeth is vulnerable to osteoporosis, as is the rest of the skeleton. Studies have found a link between the loss of bone density in the jawbone and loose or missing teeth.

While osteoporosis can complicate treatment of some dental issues, there are ways to work with whatever level of bone health a client may have. The All-on-Four treatment concept allows dental surgeons to provide a fully customized denture with just four titanium implants. The implants act as “pillars” to the bridge that supports the prosthetic teeth. All-on-Four takes advantage of existing bone, even if it is scarce, and avoids the use of bone grafts.

If you’ve been told you’re at risk for osteoporosis, it’s possible to take steps to strengthen and care for your bones. Dr. Ford recommends eating a well-balanced diet that’s rich in calcium and Vitamin D; staying physically active by participating in weight-bearing exercises such as walking, dancing or weight-training; limiting alcohol intake; quitting smoking; and reporting issues such as receding gums, loose teeth, and loose or ill-fitting dentures to your dentist and your physician promptly.

“Your skeleton is the foundation of your body,” says Dr. Ford. “Your dentist can be a key player on the medical team working to keep your bones healthy and at their best.”

 

 

 

 

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