Osteoporosis is a bone disease, but teeth aren’t bones. This means that many people don’t make the link between the two conditions. The truth is, osteoporosis and tooth loss have a close relationship.
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that causes sufferers to lose bone density. Bone fractures and breaks are the most common symptoms of osteoporosis, but the loss of bone density can also have a significant impact on oral health.
There was contradictory evidence linking osteoporosis to tooth loss in the past, but a Nature study (2013) established a clear link. The authors concluded, “There was a significant relationship between molar tooth number and osteoporotic status.”
The researchers found that a loss of density in the jawbone can cause teeth to fall out, with osteoporotic patients having fewer molar teeth. The link was so strong that the Nature researchers suggest, “Clinicians should inform osteoporotic patients they may be at greater risk of tooth loss”. They urge clinicians to instigate “more intensive preventive regimens” for these individuals to tackle tooth loss.
As well as a worrying loss of bone density, patients with osteoporosis are at a greater risk of developing periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease. As the jaw loses bone density, it can make it easier for bacteria to penetrate, leading to gum disease. Osteoporosis and periodontitis are linked and “could also be risk factors for each other and have a mutual impact that requires concomitant management,” say scientists. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and receding gums. According to the NHS, as well as having an impact on oral health, gum disease “may increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease.”
Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss, say health experts, but it’s the loss of bone density and gum disease that are to blame.
Osteoporosis doesn’t cause tooth decay. Instead, it affects the structure inside the body that keeps the teeth in place.
The oral cavity is a medical term for the mouth. As we’ve established, osteoporosis can lead to issues with the gums and cause tooth loss.
Tooth loss is caused by a loss of bone density in the jawbone and an increased risk of gum disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor will prescribe treatments, typically a drug called bisphosphonates. These work to halt bone loss, which should help to maintain the strength of your jawbone and reduce future tooth loss.
In addition to prescription medications, your doctor may also recommend that you take supplements, including vitamin D and calcium, in addition to improving your diet. You can read more in our detailed guide to osteoporosis treatments here.
While such interventions should positively affect your bone health, there is more you can do. Marodyne LiV is a natural way to halt bone loss and improve bone density. Using highly calibrated low-intensity vibrations, Marodyne LiV stimulates your body and encourages it to grow new bone. Studies have demonstrated that standing on Marodyne LiV for just 10 minutes a day can have a dramatic impact on bone health.
If tooth loss is caused by periodontitis, you’ll need to speak to your dentist. The best way to treat gum disease is by following good oral hygiene guidance. That means brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, advises the NHS.
You should also use good quality toothpaste and floss regularly. If your gum disease has progressed, you may be prescribed antibiotics.
You should have an annual dental check-up and should tell your doctor that you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis. However, if you are experiencing problems with your teeth, or have any of the symptoms of gum disease (such as bleeding when you brush your teeth, consistent bad breath and loose teeth), then you should seek urgent help.
Your dentist will be able to offer advice and help on your dental health, but they will be unable to provide treatment for osteoporosis. You will need to consult with a clinician who can offer treatment options for you. It’s likely that you will be prescribed medication to halt bone loss.
Yes, strengthening bone can help to prevent tooth loss. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor is likely to prescribe medication that can help and advise you on lifestyle changes you can make that improve your bone health.
Whatever your age, there are several things you can do to prevent bone loss, including:
All of these things you can do for yourself safely at home. Taking control of your bone health is the first step toward preventing tooth loss.
There’s no reason why you should lose all your teeth if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. However you will need to ensure you do everything you can to prevent bone loss and improve oral health. Prescription medications are just one weapon in the battle against osteoporosis. You should also make lifestyle changes and explore natural treatments for osteoporosis, including LiV.
Regular dental check-ups are essential. You’ll also need to ensure you brush your teeth regularly and maintain good oral hygiene.
Unfortunately, as we age, tooth loss is – for many of us – inevitable. However, as we’ve seen, there are things you can do to improve bone health, and it’s never too late to start.