Osteoporosis & Periodontal Disease
The Mouth and Body Connection
Summary of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease (commonly known as periodontitis, gum disease or jawbone disease) is a chronic condition and without proper professional treatment the result is jawbone loss and tooth loss. It is the most common cause of tooth loss. A bacterial infection occurs from bacteria that colonize above and below the gum line and causes gum pockets. This bacteria enters your bloodstream and travels throughout your bloodstream and travels throughout the body. Intra-orally the infection continues and the gum pocket becomes more inflamed and deeper causing the gum tissue to detach from the root of the tooth and infect the underlying jawbone. At Michael Drone Dentistry & Prosthodontics a periodontal evaluation is performed and Dr. Drone will develop a periodontal therapy program specific for you.
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Dr. Drone is a native of Wheatfield, IN and has been practicing dentistry since 2003 and opened his private practice in Valparaiso, IN in 2007. Dr. Drone earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Indiana University School of Dentistry and earned his advanced specialty degrees in Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial Prosthodontics from Indiana University School of Dentistry and Medicine.
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The Mouth Body Connection and Periodontal Disease
Research has proven that there is a strong connection between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and osteoporosis. Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation above and below gum-line, the presence of disease-causing bacteria, bleeding of gum tissue when brushing or flossing, gum pockets and bone loss. The bacterial infection in the mouth can spread throughout the body and lead to several problematic health issues. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene, preventing periodontal disease or reducing the progression of periodontal disease through dental treatments will have benefits beyond preventing gum disease and bone loss. It can prevent you from the chance of developing another serious health conditions.
Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common in older individuals, particularly in women. It is characterized by weakened bones and decrease in bone density. The body fails to form enough new bone or when the body absorbs too much old bone. The leading identifier in osteoporosis is a significant drop of estrogen levels in women and testosterone in men. When individuals are diagnosed with osteoporosis, they must be very careful in doing daily activities because they are at an increased risk for bone fractures.
Many studies have identified a connection between periodontal disease and osteoporosis as both diseases lead to bone loss. Research has found that women with periodontal bacteria in their oral cavity were more likely to have bone loss in the oral cavity and jawbone. A 10 year research study showed that patients diagnosed with osteoporosis could significantly reduce tooth loss by controlling their periodontal disease. Another research study concluded that post-menopausal women who suffer from osteoporosis are 86% more likely to develop periodontal disease.
Connection to Osteoporosis
- Estrogen Deficiency: One of the reasons for the connection between osteoporosis and periodontal disease is a deficiency in estrogen. One of the consequences in menopausal women is a decrease in estrogen which speeds up the progression of both jawbone loss and general bone loss. Estrogen deficiency also increases the rate of attachment loss of fibers and tissues which keep the teeth stable. Tooth loss results when these fibers are destroyed.
- Low Mineral Bone Density: Low mineral bone density is one of the causes of osteoporosis and the inflammation from periodontal disease makes weakened bones more susceptible to break down. This is why periodontal disease is more dangerous in patients with osteoporosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is extremely important to take preventive measures in treating periodontal disease to protect your teeth and jawbone. Both osteoporosis and periodontal disease are less detrimental to your overall health is they are diagnosed and treated in the early stages. Dr. Drone and your medical doctor will recommend a treatment to effectively control both conditions.
Below are some common modalities to diagnose and treat the diseases:
- Dental X-rays: X-rays are necessary to evaluate for jawbone loss. Dr. Drone can recommend periodontal procedures for preventing and treating periodontal disease. Controlling periodontal disease can aid in treating osteoporosis.
- Estrogen Supplements: Providing estrogen supplements to post-menopausal women can decrease the rate of attachment loss and decrease gingival inflammation. The end result is to protect the teeth from periodontal disease.
- Assessment of Risk Factors: Dr. Drone and our hygienists are able to closely monitor and evaluate patients that might be at an increased risk of developing both periodontal disease and osteoporosis. Family history, medical history, dental history, X-rays, medications and lifestyle risk factors such as: tobacco use, obesity, poor nutrition and diet and estrogen deficiency will be assessed by Dr. Drone, our hygienists, and your medical doctor. We will provide you with the necessary medical and dental education, support and any medications for prevention and treatment of periodontal disease and osteoporosis.