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Dental and Oral Health (Seniors)

Bone Density

11/12/2003

Question:

I knew I had a cavity. The dentist took an exray and advised me I needed a root canal. I cannot affort the cap. He then advised me the tooth was so rotten that it needed to be pulled. (1) If it was so rotten, how was he able to pull it without it breaking apart? After pulling the tooth, he told me I was loosing bone density around my teeth. (2)Can a normal exray show density? (3) If this is the case, what can I do? I am taking plenty of liquid gel calcium and have been for a long time..

Answer:

The relationship between bone density and tooth loss or oral health remains unclear; however, there are increasing reports that indicate that low bone density can lead to tooth loss and gum disease. The exact mechanism is not clear yet. Furthermore, bone density need not be uniform throughout the body. In fact, low bone density manifests itself first in the long bones of the thighs, ribs and lastly continues to increase until the age of 30, after which the amount of calcium deposits remains constant and eventually decreases in the post-menopausal stage due to decrease and loss in estrogen hormone. 

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Response by:

Abdel Rahim   Mohammad, DDS, MS, MPH, FAAOM, FACD Abdel Rahim Mohammad, DDS, MS, MPH, FAAOM, FACD
Clinical Professor of Geriatrics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University