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Scientists discover link between osteoporosis and gum disease


According to new research carried out by Newcastle University, getting treatment for thinning bones could have a huge effect on dental health, even stopping teeth from falling out. Two large-scale studies have revealed that there is a link between osteoporosis and gum disease, with older women at risk of losing bone density and possibly their teeth. Osteoporosis reduces bone strength and density, leaving the teeth unsupported in the sockets. Gum disease has been linked to several chronic health problems, such as heart disease.

Professor Robin Seymour, who works in restorative dentistry at the University, said that the research ‘confirmed that women with a history of periodontitis or osteoporosis experience accelerated bone and tooth loss.’ Further studies revealed that almost half of the osteoporosis sufferers who were tested found that their gum tissue became increasingly unhealthy over a two-year period, indicating a link between the two conditions.

It is thought that nearly one in three women over the age of fifty who have experienced menopause will suffer with osteoporosis. Professor Seymour explained that the reduced level of oestrogen in post-menopausal women could aggravate the condition and lead to plaque development and bone loss in the jaw. ‘As a result, patients suffering from osteoporosis have fewer teeth,’ he said, adding that hormone replacement and regular dental appointments could help with the problem; ‘Patients who suffer with osteoporosis should undergo six-monthly dental inspections,’ he advises.

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