Over 53 million Americans either have osteoporosis, or are at high risk of osteoporosis, due to low bone mass.1

If you have questions about how osteoporosis could affect your dental health, these answers can help.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become brittle and more likely to fracture. The disease can affect any bone in the body and can cause dental issues including loose teeth, receding gums and ill-fitting or loose dentures.2 Osteoporosis can happen to men and women of all races and age groups, and the risk increases as you get older.3

Dental X-rays and osteoporosis

In addition to bone mineral density tests, dental X-rays can be a useful screening tool for osteoporosis. X-rays allow dentists to see the jawbone and determine if a person has normal bone density or low bone density (osteoporosis). And since many people see their dentist more than their doctor, a dentist can encourage any patient with signs of osteoporosis to talk to their doctor.4

Tooth loss and osteoporosis

The jawbone supports and anchors the teeth. If the jawbone gets weaker from osteoporosis, it can cause loose teeth and tooth loss. Women with osteoporosis are 3 times more likely to experience tooth loss than those without the disease, and may have more difficulty with dentures becoming loose or ill-fitting.5

Gum disease and osteoporosis

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a serious infection that affects the soft tissue and bone supporting your teeth. Although not a fact, some research has shown a direct connection between gum disease, osteoporosis and tooth loss. This may be because a weakened jawbone is more sensitive to periodontal bacteria, increasing the risk for gum disease and tooth loss.6

Ways to keep your bones and teeth strong

Simple ways to maintain and improve your bone and teeth health include:7

  • Eating a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
  • Engaging in regular physical activity like walking, jogging and lifting weights
  • Avoiding smoking and limiting your alcohol intake
  • Following preventive dental care guidelines

Humana offers dental plans

If you’re looking for dental insurance, Humana can help. We offer a broad range of dental plans with varying levels of coverage, many with low monthly premiums. Some of our plans also feature no waiting periods, which means you could get covered in about 5 days. To see plans and prices in your area, check out our Humana Insurance Company dental insurance page.

Sources

  1. “Oral Health and Bone Disease,” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, last accessed February 1, 2021, https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/oral-health/oral-health-and-bone-disease, opens new window.
  2. “Oral Health and Bone Disease.”
  3. “Osteoporosis Overview,” The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, last accessed February 1, 2021, https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/overview, opens new window.
  4. “Oral Health and Bone Disease.”
  5. “Oral Health and Bone Disease.”
  6. “Oral Health and Bone Disease.”
  7. “Oral Health and Bone Disease.”