Saturday, 16 May 2009

Osteoporosis and Your Smile - How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Help Prevent Tooth Loss

Most people are aware of the basics of osteoporosis - the weak, brittle bones, the risk of a fractured hip or ankle, and the realization that they should have done more to stop it before it was too late. More than ten million Americans suffer from this disease, and 80% of its sufferers are women, although the reason why women are most often targeted is unknown. Osteoporosis is a sneaky condition, which is why victims often suffer significant bone loss before noticing any symptoms. What many people do not consider when faced with the possibility of osteoporosis is tooth loss. However, cosmetic dentistry can help to preserve your smile and your health.

Bone Loss Can Lead To Tooth Loss

The loss of bone mass throughout the body causes fractures. What many people don't realize or consider when fighting osteoporosis is that your jaw is made of bone, and that this is what holds your teeth in place. Postmenopausal women who struggle with osteoporosis (the largest contingent of those with osteoporosis) comprise the largest group of women at risk for losing their teeth. Scientists have recently discovered a link between the estrogen deficiency that follows menopause and the rate of oral bone loss. Without strong bones holding your teeth in place, tooth loss and tooth shifting can occur. If you or someone you know suffers from osteoporosis, make it a point to mention it to your cosmetic dentist. Cosmetic dentistry offers options to prevent and delay tooth loss.

How A Cosmetic Dentist Can Help Preserve Your Smile

While osteoporosis is often hard at work before its effects are noticeable, don't give up. Cosmetic dentistry can help you keep your teeth. A 2007 study of over 1,200 postmenopausal women conducted by the Journal of Periodontology discovered an increase in jawbone loss in women with periodontal disease. Another study conducted shortly after concluded that by eliminating periodontal disease, women with osteoporosis jawbone loss could significantly reduce and slow further bone or tooth loss.

This means that simple, regular cleanings by your cosmetic dentist could eliminate the periodontal disease that accelerates bone and tooth loss. These regular cleanings, teamed with routine checkups and careful daily care, help preserve your teeth. Also, if you are experiencing loose teeth, or teeth that seem to shift within your mouth, consult your cosmetic dentist. It might be the first step to a diagnosis of osteoporosis and treatment.

How To Protect Yourself

Remember that your oral health affects your overall health and vice versa. Prevention is always preferable to finding out too late. In the case of osteoporosis, many of the recommended methods of prevention are also the most effective treatments.

To protect yourself, consume lots of calcium and vitamin D rich foods. Another form of protection is to exercise with weights regularly, as this increases bone density most quickly and powerfully. If needed, have your doctor prescribe a bone density medication.

Most importantly, get regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist; it can prevent damage from occurring before it's too late. However, if you've already suffered tooth loss due to osteoporosis, consider the benefits and possibilities that cosmetic dentistry can offer to help you reclaim the smile of your dreams.

Christine O'Kelly is a writer for Big Smile Dental, a premier cosmetic dentist in Chicago. If you need cosmetic dentistry in Chicago, Big Smile Dental is a great choice, as the practice is committed to providing superior dentistry services at competitive prices.

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