Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis; What’s the Connection?

The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by the loss of minerals from the bones – making them weaker, more brittle, and more prone to fractures. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that about ten million Americans have osteoporosis. Osteoporosis doesn’t just affect your bones; research studies have now established a link between osteoporosis and periodontal disease. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that women having postmenopausal osteoporosis had a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. 

So, what is the connection between periodontal disease and osteoporosis? Continue reading to find out. 

Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis; What’s the Connection?

During the 1960s, researchers started to uncover evidence that suggested a connection between osteoporosis and periodontal disease. Although the extent of the relationship between these two diseases is still being investigated, scientists have, so far, established the following connections:

  • Inflammation – it is thought that the inflammatory mediators released in response to underlying periodontal disease also result in an accelerated loss of minerals from all the bones in the body, including the facial bones. As a result, the jawbones become weaker and become prone to spontaneous fractures. Consequently, teeth also become mobile in their sockets and ultimately fall out if the periodontal inflammation continues. Therefore, individuals who have osteoporosis also have a high risk of suffering from tooth loss. 
  • Estrogen Deficiency – scientists have also found an association between menopause – caused by the cessation of estrogen production in older women – and accelerated bone loss in the jaw. Estrogen deficiency also speeds up the detachment of fibers and tissues that hold our teeth in their sockets and exacerbates underlying periodontal disease.

study conducted in Brazil and published in the Journal of North American Menopausal Society in 2017 highlighted that osteoporosis treatment in postmenopausal women with estrogen reduces their risk of periodontal disease by nearly one-half. 

The excellent news is that underlying periodontal disease – which can aggravate osteoporosis – is easily prevented. By minimizing the risk factors for periodontal inflammation – through regular brushing and timely visits to your dentist for check-ups – you can avoid the damaging effects of osteoporosis on your oral and physical health. At the same time, managing estrogen deficiency or menopause through estrogen therapy is also an effective method to prevent exacerbation of periodontal disease.
If you have any questions or concerns about periodontal disease, we are here for you 773-481-2200.