As we grow older, parts of our bodies grow weaker and require attention to continue in good health. Your bones, which provide the framework for your entire body, are no exception. Time, nature, habits, and diet can all play a role in decreasing bone density, and illnesses that affect the strength of your bones are not uncommon. In fact, ten million Americans are affected by osteoporosis alone, and another 34 million have low enough bone density to place them at risk. While your teeth may not be made of bone, as some believe, your entire oral structure rests on supportive bone—your jawbone. Studies now show that your oral health may be linked to osteoporosis in other ways, as well. Austin dentist, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen, explores the connection.
Osteoporosis and Gum Disease
For decades, scientists have been aware of a link between your oral health and your physical wellbeing. Research continues across the globe attempting to discover the intricacies of oral and physical health in the hopes that fully understanding the relationship will lead to innovative treatments, preventions, and possibly cures for our worst illnesses. In one such study, researchers discovered a definite link between bone loss and gum disease by examining the bone density and oral health of 2,599 postmenopausal women. The results of the study did not determine whether one caused the other, but raised awareness that maintaining a clean and healthy mouth can benefit your overall health by reducing your risk of serious disease.
Bone Loss Medication and Oral Health
If you suffer from a bone health issue such as osteoporosis or cancer, your doctor may have suggested taking a bisphosphonate, which binds to your bone tissue to help prevent bone degradation and promote growth. While they can help you combat bone loss, bisphosphonates have been known to complicate your oral health through a condition known as Bisphosphonate Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ). This condition is described as an area of exposed jawbone that has essentially died. Be sure to mention your condition and your medication to Dr. Van Wicklen during your visit, especially before undergoing any dental procedure. If you experience the symptoms of BRONJ, you may have to postpone any dental work until the condition can be resolved.
To learn more, contact your Austin dentist. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Van Wicklen by calling 512-448-3131. Located in the 78704 area, we proudly serve the cities of Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and all surrounding communities.