Objectives: The association between osteoporosis and oral health remains a matter of controversy. It is important to confirm whether there is a role of osteoporosis in bone loss in the jaws, periodontal diseases, tooth loss, and other oral tissue changes. The objective of this article is to review and summarize the published literature on the associations between osteoporosis and various oral conditions such as bone loss in the jaws, periodontal diseases, and tooth loss.
Methods: A search of the computerized database MEDLINE was conducted. Clinical information concerning systemic osteoporosis and animal studies reporting possible associations between osteoporosis and changes in the dental and oral tissues were included. The review focus was on studies involving (1) methods for assessing bone mineral density (BMD); (2) methods for assessing osteoporosis-related changes in intraoral sites; (3) associations between mandibular BMD and skeletal BMD; (4) changes in the jaws, periodontal tissues, and temporomandibular joint concurrent with osteoporosis; (5) changes in the oral tissues following estrogen deficiency; and (6) effects of estrogen-hormone replacement therapy and/or calcium and vitamin D on oral health.
Results: Ninety-seven studies conducted in various parts of the world were identified. Evidence from prospective studies supports the contention that individuals with osteoporosis may be at increased risk for the manifestations of oral osteoporosis; however, such risk is not definitively proven. Studies suggest that findings on dental panoramic radiographs may be used to detect individuals with low BMD.
Conclusions: Further well-controlled studies are needed to better elucidate the inter-relationship between systemic and oral bone loss and to clarify whether dentists could usefully provide early warning for osteoporosis risk.