Four Tips for Healthier Bones and Teeth
By Jean-Max Jean-Pierre DDS
When people think of aging bones, they usually imagine breaks and sprains. But did you know one of the most critical consequences of weak bones is actually the impact bone deterioration can have on your dental health? Current research suggests a significant connection between oral health and overall wellness, which means taking good care of bones as we age is not only crucial for happier golden years, but also essential to oral health and tooth retention.
Learn about the links between bones and teeth.
The two main ailments associated with aging bones are osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Though the conditions are different, each has an impact on dental health.
Osteoporosis means bones have become less dense due to tissue loss, leaving bones more vulnerable to fracture. The condition can reduce a person’s height, cause back pain, bend posture, and impair walking. Osteoarthritis is a painful degenerative joint disease that reduces joint flexibility, creates bony spurs, and causes swelling where joint bones rub together as protective cartilage wears away.
A similar condition is periodontitis, which attacks bones that support teeth. Periodontitis causes gum infections, which can lead to receding gums, bad breath, tooth loss, and a higher risk of stroke and heart attack. Many studies have shown correlations between osteoporosis, periodontitis, and tooth loss. Research has also illustrated links between osteoarthritis and periodontitis, and some studies have proven that treating periodontal disease can reduce pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Exercise with weights to build bone and muscle strength.
Exercise doesn’t have to be over-the-top to have dramatic results on your health. Walking, jogging, dancing, and basic weight training are all great ways to keep bones strong and continue building density at any age.
Cellular biology research has found that one of the best ways to increase bone density is through a simple method called osteogenic loading, a series of concentrated resistance exercises that last just a few minutes. The process triggers the body’s natural ability to rebuild, which strengthens bones and muscles for several days after a quick, 10-minute session.
The Osteoporosis Institute, which advocates non-drug treatments before pharmaceuticals, recommends osteogenic loading as a great way to increase bone density. Osteogenic loading is easily calibrated based on a person’s current age and abilities, making it an ideal anti-aging tool for anyone from children to people over age 90. When patients are concerned about prevention or pain from bone loss, I encourage them to visit OsteoStrong, an osteogenic loading expert with locations throughout the U.S.
Visit your dentist regularly.
Twice-yearly dental hygiene visits are important for far more than your teeth. In fact, your dentist may be the first person to spot signs of osteoporosis. Most people aren’t diagnosed until their bones deteriorate to the point of breaking, but your dentist is likely to notice earlier signs of bone weakness including gum disease, tooth loss due to low bone mineral density, bone loss around the jaw and teeth, and loose dentures. Managing osteoporosis is much easier with an early diagnosis, which improves chances of finding effective preventative measures and treatment.
When you visit the dentist, be sure to share your full medical history. If certain issues such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis run in your family, your dentist will need to be aware so he or she can take special care to look for early symptoms of bone problems.
Brush and floss frequently.
Your body and mouth are linked, and the health of one affects the health of the other. Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, paying special attention to any old fillings as well as the soft root of the tooth where gums may have receded. Use the best brush and floss types for your individual mouth and teeth, since patients with certain dental histories and challenges may require different cleaning implements for the best results.
Brushing and flossing to maintain excellent dental hygiene is crucial to dental wellness, but may also prevent other ailments of aging. Taking good care of teeth and gums may lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and diabetes.
Scientists may not yet be able to measure the precise links between oral hygiene and overall body health, but it’s clear that there is a relationship between the mouth and the rest of the body. Regular exercise, dental visits, and good hygiene can help anyone enjoy healthier dental and overall well being both now and as we age.
Jean-Max Jean-Pierre DDS is a board certified periodontist in Hendersonville, Tennessee whose passions are patient care, satisfaction, and education. Dr. Jean-Pierre utilizes the latest technology and treatment modalities to encourage better oral and overall health, including encouraging patients to visit OsteoStrong, an osteogenic loading specialist with locations across the U.S. He is an active member of several professional and local organizations and currently serves as President of the Tennessee Society of Periodontists. Please visit http://www.periocarecenter.com/