Periodontal disease is characterized by a progressive loss of supportive
gingival tissue in the gums and jawbone. It is the number one cause of
tooth loss among adults in the developed world. Periodontal disease occurs
when toxins found in oral plaque inflame and irritate the soft tissues
surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, bacteria colonies initially
cause the systematic destruction of gum tissue, and then proceed to destroy the
underlying bone tissue.
Osteoporosis is a common metabolic bone disease which frequently occurs in
postmenopausal women, and occurs less frequently in men. Osteoporosis is
characterized by bone fragility, low bone mass and a decrease in bone mineral
density. Many studies have explored and identified a connection between
periodontal disease and osteoporosis.
A study conducted at the University of New York at Buffalo in 1995 concluded
that post-menopausal women who suffered from osteoporosis were 86% more likely
to also develop periodontal disease.
Reasons for the Connection
Though studies are still being conducted in order to further assess the extent
of the relationship between osteoporosis and periodontal disease, the
researchers have thus far made the following connections:
Diagnosis and Treatment
Osteoporosis and periodontal disease are much less dangerous if they are
diagnosed in the early stages. Once a diagnosis has been made, the dentist
will generally work with the patient’s doctor to ensure that both diseases are
Here are some methods commonly used to diagnose and treat the diseases:
If you have any questions about periodontal disease and its connection with
osteoporosis, please contact our office.