Osteoporosis and low bone mass can affect a person’s dental health as well as a consideration for people interested in dental implants.
Today, osteoporosis is a major public health threat for 25 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. It is estimated that in the US, 7 to 8 million individuals already have the disease and 17 million more have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis and the fractures it causes. Known as “the silent thief,” osteoporosis progresses without symptoms or pain until bones start to break, generally in the hip, spine, or wrist.
Osteoporosis is a complex disease and not all of its causes are known. However, when certain risk factors are present, your likelihood of developing osteoporosis is increased. Therefore, it is important for you to determine your risk for developing osteoporosis and take action to prevent it now.
Osteoporosis is preventable if bone loss is detected early.
If you already have osteoporosis, you can live actively and comfortably by seeking proper medical care and making some adjustments to your lifestyle. Your physician may prescribe a diet rich in calcium, a regular program of weight-bearing exercise, and medical treatment.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation is the Nation’s leading source for patient and health care professionals seeking up-to-date, medically sound information and educational materials on the causes, prevention, detection, and treatment of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a loss of bone mineral density (bone mass) which makes bone more porous and subsequently much weaker. It is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks.
A lifelong process in which old bone is removed and new bone is laid down.
Fractures typically in hip, spine, or wrist
Fractures sometimes lead to death
Women 5X greater risk than men
Men can also suffer from osteoporosis
Bone is a living, growing calcified tissue
Bone is constantly renewed through a process in which old bone is taken away and replaced with new bone
Early in life, more bone tissue is added than taken away
Maximum bone density & strength occurs at age 25 to 35
After age 35, old bone is is removed faster than it is replaced
Menopause – increased bone loss due to reduced estrogen production
Excess bone loss – more fragile bone
Once bone is lost, it is very difficult to replace.
Dr. J. Crystal Baxter, in the Academy of Osseointegration newsletter, states that patients with osteoporosis can be successfully treated with dental implants. “With careful monitoring and some additional healing time, these patients can be treated as well as patients without the disease. I believe that these women are prime candidates for implant treatment as they will most likely experience more bone loss than an unaffected subject when teeth are removed. The successful integration of healthy implants prevents and reduces future bone resorption.”
Info from Academy News, Volume 9, Number 2, 1998, Page 8 and 9.
Increased Risk Factors:
Thin, small-boned frame
Broken bones, stooped posture in older family members, especially women
Early estrogen deficiency in women who experience menopause before age 45
Diet low in calcium
Inactive lifestyle with little exercise
Caucasian and Asian women at highest risk
African-American and Hispanic women at lower, but significant risk
Excessive use of alcohol
Prolonged use of glucocorticosteroids, some anti-inflammatory medications, excessive thyroid hormone and some anti-seizure medications
Proper nutrition and exercise throughout life can dramatically decrease a person’s risk of suffering osteoporosis.
Most serious consequence of osteoporosis
Results in loss of mobility
Can necessitate nursing home placement
50,000 die per year due to complications
Activities of daily living more difficult
Loss of height
Affects 25 million Americans
80% of those affected are women
Leads to 1.5 million fractures each year
1/3 of women > 50 will suffer vertebral fracture
300,000 hip fractures each year due to osteoporosis
Avoid falls and injuries
The National Osteoporosis Foundation provides up to date information describing recommended calcium intakes.
Wide variety of supplements available
Discuss choice with your doctor
Be sure it is easily absorbed by the body
Determine elemental calcium in supplement
Lactose Intolerance: Difficulty digesting milk due to lack of enzyme lactase.
Lactase breaks down milk sugar lactase
Treat lactose-containing foods with commercial preparation of lactase
Purchase pretreated products
Plays important role in calcium absorption
Allows calcium to leave intestine and enter bloodstream
Synthesized in skin through exposure to sunlight
Vitamin D production decreases in elderly and housebound people
400 IU to 800 IU (Addl doses not recommended)
Benefits last only as long as program is maintained
Most people with osteoporosis SHOULD exercise
Secure rugs to floor
Avoid throw rugs that slip
Minimize clutter in house
Remove loose wires/cords
Avoid wax floors
Wear sturdy, low-heeled shoes
Keep halls, stairs well lighted
Grab bars in bathroom
Non-skid tape in shower/tub
Wear seat belts in car
Adjust car seat properly
Avoid medications that cause dizziness
The National Osteoporosis Foundation maintains up-to-date information about the disease and its treatment. Be sure to visit their site for the most accurate and current information. The purpose of this page is to create an awareness of osteoporosis. Medical action in each individual case should be determined with professional advice directed toward the individual’s particular circumstances and condition