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Osteoporosis & Oral Health

osteoporosisOsteoporosis is a disease condition in which the bones becomes exceptionally porous and are subject to fracture. It is responsible for bone fracture in about 2 million people annually, as around 10 million Americans live with this disease. Osteoporosis can occur in any part of the body, jawbone inclusive.

Osteoporosis of the jawbone is a significant concern for people needing one dental procedure or the other. For instance, the success of a dental implant is highly dependent on its ability to fuse to the jawbone. When the jawbone is affected by osteoporosis, it will be too weak for the fusion to happen. Osteoporosis of the jawbone as well as drugs used in its treatment, could affect your oral health.

Bone: An Ever-Changing Tissue

Living bone tissue is very much different from a dead skeleton frame found in the laboratory or a doctor’s office. Living bone tissue is perpetually reshaped by two natural processes: Resorption and bone formation.

In resorption, old damaged bones are broken down and removed from the body while in bone formation, new healthy bones replace the old damaged ones. These two processes happen simultaneously, and osteoporosis occurs when there is more resorption than bone formation.

Bisphosphonate drugs can correct this imbalance. They inhibit the resorption process, thereby bringing the two operations into spontaneity.

Occasionally, these drugs tend to have a different effect on the jawbone. Although it rarely happens, people who use bisphosphonate drugs for an extended period can find that some regions of their jawbone lose their ability to live and develop. This condition is called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).

People that would be needing bisphosphonate drugs to correct their osteoporosis to should carefully consider the effects of the drugs before continuation.

Taking Medication

Taking bisphosphonate drugs through the mouth is preferable to taking it through veins. More than 90% of people who receive it intravenously develop ONJ.

People with osteoporosis should opt for taking their bisphosphonate drugs orally. Before beginning your bisphosphonate dosage, you must go for a dental checkup to correct any oral disease you might have. And while receiving the drugs, any incursive dental procedure should be avoided.

Before beginning any treatment, inform your medical team of any oral health issue you may have. Untreated oral disease can cause serious harm to your health.

People who take their bisphosphonate medications orally do not need to suspend their dental procedures as they have a slim chance of developing ONJ. The placement of dental implants will depend on if the supporting jawbone is healthy enough.

The presence of osteoporosis can influence the type of implants used and the time for the implant to fuse with the bone and heal completely.

Preventing Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can be prevented in several ways. Always eat foods containing calcium and vitamin D, reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake, and giving up smoking can be helpful. Exercises such as walking and jogging can so also prove to be beneficial. Regular visits to your dentist are essential as they will help you maintain good oral health.

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