We know it sounds weird, but your dentist may be the first person in your medical team to suspect and diagnose osteoporosis. At my dental office in Chapel Hill, we take your health seriously, and not just your oral health. Which is why we not only want to educate patients on the risks and signs of osteoporosis, but also how we can help diagnose it.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disorder that reduces bone density and causes them to weaken. While it typically affects women who are 50 or older, osteoporosis can happen to anyone. Currently, 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis and another 34 million are at risk for developing it. When your bone density weakens, your body becomes much more susceptible to serious, life-threatening bone breaks.
Some of the signs of osteoporosis may go unnoticed for a while, and many individuals don’t realize they have a problem until the osteoporosis causes a serious break or fracture. However, many signs of osteoporosis show up first in the mouth, since it’s the only part of your body that is x-rayed so regularly!
Some of the signs your dentist look for include:
- Bone loss around teeth and in the jaw
- Tooth loss — without the strong bone, teeth are more likely to fall out
- Gum disease
- Low bone density in x-rays
The earlier osteoporosis is caught, the earlier treatment can begin and the risk for serious injury decreases.
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D through your diet or supplements
- Move it, move it! Exercise, particularly muscle-building exercises, can help
- Put down the cigarettes
- Limit alcohol
- Decrease caffeine intake
- Maintain regular dental appointments
Keeping up with regularly scheduled appointments at my Chapel Hill dental office is important not only for your oral health, but for your whole body’s health too. At every visit, we’ll monitor your mouth for any signs of osteoporosis. If we suspect osteoporosis, we’ll work with you to find the best treatment.
Serving patients from Chapel Hill, Durham, and Pittsboro.