Put a Ban on Brittle Bones
You likely know that osteoporosis is a condition that makes bones prone to fracture as we age because they lose density and strength. The wrists, hips, and spine are most commonly affected, but it can also cause a weakened jawbone, which can lead to teeth loosening and even falling out. Wearing dentures can also be difficult if the jawbone is too damaged to allow for a good, secure fit.
As you hear in sports, the best defense is a good offense – that is, to ensure strong bones when you’re older, be sure to consume plenty of foods that contain bone-building calcium now. That includes milk, yogurt, and cheese, as well as non-dairy products like leafy greens and some fish such as salmon, sardines, or perch. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and weight training, will also help build and retain bone density.
Drugs called bisphosphonates are used commonly to treat osteoporosis and also some cancers. However, these drugs have also been linked with an increased risk for osteonecrosis of the jawbone. Osteonecrosis is characterized as bone that becomes exposed, particularly after a tooth extraction or other oral surgery, as well as by pain and swelling of the tissue around the exposed area of bone. If you are prescribed a bisphosphonate-based medicine, make sure you receive a thorough dental examination before beginning treatment. It’s also more important than ever to maintain good oral health and schedule regular dental visits so that any potential problems can be detected early. Make sure your dentist is aware of any bisphosphonate medications you’re taking currently or in the past so he or she can recommend appropriate precautions to help avoid unwanted side effects.
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