The connection between Osteoporosis and Periodontal (Gum) disease
A recent study in Europe has highlighted the relationship between severe periodontal disease and Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease mostly affecting post-menopausal women. The condition results in a reduction in the mineral density of the bones, which results in fragility of the bones, with increasing chance of bone fracture. The same correlation was not found with Osteopenia, therefore a slight decrease in bone density is not significant.
Previous studies have found little relationship between the attachment loss that occurs in periodontal disease and decrease in bone density. This study is significant because of its elimination and consideration given to other causative factors such as smoking, age and plaque control. Significantly there was also a correlation with gingival recession. The sample size however was small but it does indicate that further work needs to be carried out in this area.
It should also be noted that a pre-existing periodontal condition was made worse by the onset of osteoporosis. Therefore in clinical practice careful note should be made of women over 50 with periodontal disease as there is a greater risk of the acceleration of the periodontal disease process.
Weight bearing exercise and calcium rich foods are thought to combat the onset of osteoporosis.
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