Proper nutrition may prevent osteoporosis as well as jaw and teeth problems

Many people know of the spine and hip fracture risks that are associated with osteoporosis, although few may be aware that the condition can affect teeth and jaw bone as well. Brushing twice daily, flossing and undergoing yearly dentist check-ups are beneficial; however, there are several other steps people can take to prevent oral diseases and bone decay.

In an effort to educate more people on ways in which diet and nutrition affect oral health, faculty from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) have sought to clarify several myths. One false belief is that bone degeneration cannot occur in the jaw or teeth. However, maintaining proper nutrition is particularly important for the mouth, as teeth are held in the jaw by the face bone, which can also be affected by osteoporosis.

"The jaw can also suffer the consequences of a diet lacking essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamins D and K," wrote Carole Palmer, professor at TUSDM and head of the division of nutrition and oral health promotion in the department of public health and community service.

"The jawbone, gums, lips, and soft and hard palates are constantly replenishing themselves throughout life. A good diet is required to keep the mouth and supporting structures in optimal shape."

This information appears in the latest issue of Nutrition Today.