Oral health is not commonly found in the forefront of everyone’s mind when we think of osteoporosis. For those at risk for osteoporosis, it should be something you not only discuss with your doctor but your dentist as well. Loss of bone in the mouth leads to loss of teeth, which makes it more difficult to properly nourish your body. There are many treatments used to address osteoporosis, but some such as Bisphosphonates severely impact you mouth. Bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, and Reclast place a person at risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaw which means a person’s gum tissue is not fully covering the bone leaving it exposed to the oral environment. This condition is difficult to treat, so if you need to be placed on Bisphosphonate treatment it would be best to see your dentist beforehand to make sure there are not any compromised teeth or teeth that need to be removed. The trauma associated with tooth extraction combined with use of bisphosphonates can lead you down the path of non-vital bone. While the exact cause is unknown, it is thought to be due to possible infection, the jaw’s limited ability to repair itself, or decreased vascularity of the jaw. Bisphosphonates reduce your bone’s ability to turn over so the constant production of bone reduces the blood supply due to the increased bone density. Recently it has been noted that use of bisphosphonates may increase a person’s risk of dental implant failure. A study conducted at the New York College of Dentistry found that women with dental implant failure were about 3 time more likely if they were taking oral bisphosphonates. Managing osteoporosis is a team effort and you should be seen by your dentist on a regular basis to preserve your oral health.
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