Can Bone Disease Affect Your Oral Health?

There is a popular conviction among scientists, researchers, and dental experts that the state of your oral health can affect the quality of your physical health. This is more than conjecture; virtually countless studies have examined the notion of oral-systemic health, and although there is still insufficient evidence to state that oral disease specifically causes systemic illness, many of these studies have definitively linked the presence of poor oral health with the development of certain illnesses. To highlight the oral-systemic connection and how your mouth and body are intertwined, Encinitas periodontist Dr. Ann Kania quizzes you on how osteoporosis is linked to your dental health.

Osteoporosis and Oral Health Quiz: True or False

Osteoporosis affects your oral health because your teeth are also bones.

False: Osteoporosis is, indeed, a disease that diminishes the strength and density of your bones. Your teeth, however, are not made of bone, as many people believe. On the contrary, osteoporosis affects the foundation of your oral health—your jawbone. The roots of your teeth are embedded into your jawbone. When this foundation is weakened, so is its secure hold on your teeth, and tooth loss becomes much more likely.

Osteoporosis can affect your eligibility for certain essential dental procedures.

True: When you lose a tooth, you have several options for replacing it. A great option, however, is a dental implant, which consists of a small titanium rod inserted into your jawbone. Once your jawbone heals, this rod acts as a root upon which a prosthetic tooth (i.e., dental crown) can be placed. If your jawbone is weakened by osteoporosis or some other form of bone disease, then you may not be an ideal candidate for a dental implant, which requires enough sturdy jawbone structure to support it. However, don’t assume you are not a candidate.  Every patient is evaluated on an individual basis.

Osteoporosis medications can affect your oral health, as well.

True: Bisphosphonates are drugs that are often prescribed to bone disease patients. They help prevent the loss of bone density by adhering to your bones and inhibiting the cells (osteoclasts) that dissolve bone tissue.  Osteoclasts are needed for normal bone turn over, a process of break down and re-building.  If bone can’t breakdown and rebuild it can’t heal. On occassion bisphosphonates can have a devastating side effect known as Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw. BRONJ is a condition in which a section of your jawbone has died and become exposed, typically inside of your mouth. Patients who undergo dental procedures while taking the drugs constitute over 60% of BRONJ cases.

Protect Your Oral Health

If you have osteoporosis, or plan on beginning bisphosphonate therapy, visit your Dr. Kania and ensure that your oral health is up to par before starting the treatment. If you are in need of periodontal treatment, then contact Dr. Kania at our Encinitas periodontal care office by calling (706) 642-0711. We serve patients from Encinitas, San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, La Costa, and the neighboring communities.