What’s Common Between Osteoporosis and Gum Disease?

The Link: Bone Loss

Osteoporosis is a skeletal condition characterized by reduction in bone mass and changes in the micro architecture in bone. This disease leads to increased bone fragility and in many cases, fracture. Living bone, which constantly breaks down and is replaced, will no longer be able to keep up when osteoporosis sets in. Bone resorption or breakdown will overtake new bone deposition. The main causes of osteoporosis are aging, menopause (brought about by estrogen deficiency), and lack of Vitamin D and calcium. It also has a direct relationship on oral and dental health.


Osteoporosis tend to affect women more than men. Menopausal women can suffer less dense and brittle bones, making them susceptible to fracture, notably of the wrists and hips. Their jawbone supporting the teeth can weakened and lead to tooth mobility and tooth loss. Other dental issues can manifest if the jawbone is low in density, such as loose or ill-fitting dentures. The condition can impair oral surgical procedures, such as dental implantation, which may be contraindicated.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is the progressive loss of supportive gingival tissue in the gums and jawbone. It may involve development of gum pockets, bleeding and loss of attachment. If untreated, bacteria colonies can cause systematic destruction of gum tissue, and eventually the underlying bone.

Both osteoporosis and periodontal diseases are bone destructive diseases, it has been hypothesized that osteoporosis could be a risk factor for the progression of periodontal disease. If osteoporosis is not addressed, periodontal inflammation can further weakened bone until it breaks down. This is why periodontitis can be more progressive in patients with osteoporosis.

Treatment for osteoporosis involves estrogen supplements or estrogen replacement therapy. Estrogen lowers the rate of attachment loss and also lowers gingival inflammation, which in turn protects teeth from periodontal disease. Studies have shown that women receiving osteoporosis treatment had less periodontal probing depth and clinical attachment loss and less gum bleeding than those who did not receive therapy. It was also found that higher family income and more frequent consultations with a dentist were associated with a lower prevalence of periodontitis.

Close Osteoporosis and Periodontal Watch in Bellevue

If the medical doctor and your Bellevue dentist work together in tandem to closely monitor the patients that are at an increased risk of developing both diseases, it can lead to better management and control.