Researchers have identified a strong association between osteoporosis (low bone density) and receding gums. What we’re not sure is exactly how these two conditions are linked, and what factors may influence them both.
Osteoporosis and Receding Gums Occur Together
Several studies have demonstrated that osteoporosis and receding gums are often found together. For example, one study found that postmenopausal women with osteoporosis were more than twice as likely to have periodontitis, serious gum disease that can lead to receding gums. Another study finding that young women with low bone mineral density were more likely to have gum disease. And in looking at risk factors, having osteoporosis was identified as the single most significant risk factor.
Another study found that women with low bone density were more likely to have bleeding on probing–a symptom of gum disease, clinical attachment loss, and receding gums than women with normal bone density. Another study linked bone fractures with receding gums. These studies give us a strong sense of the correlation between these two conditions, but what links them?
What Causes the Connection
However, when we try to figure out what is causing the connection between these two conditions, we run into some difficulties. Studies have correlated for many different potential confounders, such as smoking, age, family income, and regularity of dental visits, to find that the association between osteoporosis and gum disease persists.
It is likely that the connection is estrogen deficiency. Estrogen is a powerful hormone in the body that regulates many systems, not just reproductive functions. When estrogen levels decrease, the body tends to produce more osteoclasts (cells that break down bone), while the number of osteoblasts (cells that build up bone) remains the same or decreases. It also increases hormones that are associated with bone resorption.
When it comes to receding gums, the relationship with low estrogen levels is less clear. It is possible that the primary connection is with gum disease. Estrogen helps the immune system protect the body against gum disease. While there are some regulating proteins in the body that increase in the absence of estrogen, it’s also possible that bone loss is actually the more important factor in receding gums. Because of the significant potential for bone loss, it’s possible that bone is actually being lost first. Without the support of bone, the gums naturally recede.
Restoring Receding Gums
If you are unhappy with the appearance of receding gums, we can help. We will examine your mouth and determine the individual causes of your receding gums. We will then recommend treatments for the underlying causes, if necessary. Finally, we will rejuvenate the appearance of your gums to restore your smile to a more healthy, youthful appearance.
If you would like to learn more about reversing your receding gums in Orange County, please call (949) 551-5902 today for an appointment with a cosmetic dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.