Osteopenia is a condition in which you lose bone mass and your bones weaken, due to a loss of calcium and Vitamin D. It is usually diagnosed by a bone density test, and if not treated may lead to osteoporosis which can put you at serious risk for bone fractures.
Some people are genetically prone to Osteopenia, with a family history of the condition. If you are a woman you are more likely to get it especially if you are post-menopausal. Generally, women have lower bone mass than men and have a higher likelihood of experiencing tooth loss or mobility issues.
Certain medical conditions can contribute to Osteopenia. They include overactive thyroid, untreated Celiac Disease, chemotherapy treatments, and certain medications such as steroids and anti-seizure drugs.
It is possible that your dentist will first notice early Osteoporosis from your history, exam and x-rays. It’s important to let your dentist know about all the medications that you take. Osteopenia or Osteoporosis also be suspected if you have the following:
- Bone loss in the jaw and around teeth
- Tooth loss
- Loose or ill-fitting dentures
- Gum disease
Osteoporosis and Periodontitis are diseases which affect a large number of women and men, with incidence increasing with advancing age. While osteoporosis cannot cause gum disease (or the other way around), the two conditions can work in conjunction with one another, and cause a faster degradation of your jawbone, and put you at a higher risk for tooth loss.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease that causes bones to become thin and weak, often resulting in fractures (broken bones) In the U.S., approximately 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over age 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis. Regular dental visits can spot signs of bone and periodontal disease before it becomes serious. In addition, a healthy diet, dental hygiene routine, and supplements will go a long way in protecting your bones and oral health.