Much effort has been devoted to finding methods for detecting individuals with low bone mass and risk of osteoporotic fractures. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether there is a relationship between the thickness of the alveolar process and the bone mineral density (BMD) of the distal forearm. In 24 women (38-65 years), the BMD of the distal forearm, obtained by dual X-ray absorptiometry, was correlated to the difference between two measures of the thickness of the mandibular alveolar process in the region of the first premolar. A highly significant correlation (r = 0.95, P< 0.001) was found. The method was cross-validated by using the equation obtained from the linear regression analysis above to predict BMD in two other groups. In both groups, the correlation between the measured BMD of the forearm and the predicted BMD was highly significant (r = 0.91, P< 0.001). The interdental thickness between the canine and the second incisor was also correlated to BMD, but with lower predictive value (r = 0.67, P<0.001). Measurements of the mandibular alveolar process can be used as one of several parameters to predict skeletal bone density.