Does Osteoporosis Affect Your Teeth?

People with osteoporosis may be at greater risk of tooth loss due to low bone mineral density in the jaw and facial bones. This bone disease can cause bones to be fragile and increase the risk of fractures because the mineral content in your bones is low.

This article discusses how osteoporosis may impact teeth, how to prevent bone damage, and how to protect your teeth.

A woman brushing her teeth

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Osteoporosis and Teeth

Research indicates osteoporosis may be associated with decreased oral health, including periodontal (gum) disease, jaw bone density, and tooth loss.

Jawbone Density

Jawbone loss due to osteoporosis can result in dental health complications. You may be more prone to tooth loss without enough bone mineral density. And it can make replacements, like implants, dentures, and bridges, complicated because your bones may not be strong enough. Jawbone loss can result in facial collapse, leading to premature facial aging.

Since jawbone thickness and porousness are visible in panoramic dental X-rays, some researchers have proposed using them as diagnostic tools for osteoporosis.

Tooth Loss

Research found an association between tooth loss and osteoporosis. However, other factors, like age, smoking, race, menopause, oral hygiene, and hormones, play a role in tooth loss.

One study evaluated the association between osteoporosis and dental health in postmenopausal South Indians. Researchers found that 39% of participants had osteoporosis. Among them, more than half had poor dental health, 43.5% had cavities, and 75% had tooth loss.

Gum Disease

Periodontitis (advanced gingivitis) and osteoporosis are characterized by bone resorption (bone shrinkage and loss). Many studies confirm a relationship between the two, and each disease may be a risk factor for the other.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis and Gum Disease

Osteoporosis and gum disease share some risk factors, including:

Osteoporosis Medication Side Effects and Teeth

In addition to the correlation between osteoporosis and oral health, some medications used to treat osteoporosis can impact your teeth. In particular, antiresorptive (bone strengthening) medications can cause a rare but serious condition called osteonecrosis, which can severely damage the jawbone.

Examples of antiresorptive medications include:

  • Fosamax (alendronate)
  • Actonel (risedronate)
  • Atelvia (risedronate sodium)
  • Didronel (etidronate disodium)
  • Boniva (Ibandronate Sodium)
  • Boniva IV
  • Reclast (zoledronic acid)
  • Prolia (denosumab)

Osteonecrosis most often affects bone cancer patients receiving higher doses of these medications. While osteonecrosis can occur spontaneously, it more commonly occurs following traumatic dental procedures, like tooth extraction. It's important to tell your dentist if you take any of these medications because it may impact your treatment plan.

Preventing Bone Damage and Tooth Loss

While you don't have control over some factors, like genetics, your age, and hormones, there are some things you can actively do to prevent osteoporosis and tooth loss. They include:

Treating Osteoporosis to Protect Your Oral Health

If you have osteoporosis, it's important to treat it to prevent its progression and protect your oral health. The following are common treatments for osteoporosis:

  • Medications
  • Hormone therapy
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • Adequate exercise
  • A nutritious diet
  • Reducing risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption, and falls

In addition, many people benefit from support through osteoporosis support groups, family, and friends.


Osteoporosis impacts oral health by increasing the likelihood of gum disease, jawbone density, and tooth loss. Further, while rare, the medications used to treat osteoporosis may cause severe bone loss in the jaw, so it's important to discuss your medications with your dentist, as it could impact your dental treatment plan. You can't always prevent osteoporosis and tooth loss, but a healthy lifestyle, adequate movement, and good oral hygiene are reasonable measures to limit your risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does osteoporosis cause tooth decay and cavities?

    Some studies found a link between osteoporosis and cavities, but a causal relationship has not been proven. Common oral health ramifications of osteoporosis are gum disease, lower jawbone density, and tooth loss.

  • Can people with osteoporosis get dental implants?

    Some evidence suggests that people with osteoporosis have higher rates of dental implant loss. However, no conclusive studies indicate that osteoporosis increases the failure rate of implants.

  • Is it possible to reverse bone loss in the jaw?

    You can not reverse bone loss, which is why screening for osteoporosis is important. Often, early bone loss has no symptoms. A healthy lifestyle that includes adequate physical movement, a nutritious diet, not smoking, limiting drinking, and getting enough calcium and vitamin D can reduce your risk. In addition, medications can help prevent further bone loss.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kathi Valeii
As a freelance writer, Kathi has experience writing both reported features and essays for national publications on the topics of healthcare, advocacy, and education. The bulk of her work centers on parenting, education, health, and social justice.