The association between osteoporosis and jawbones remains an argument of debate. Both osteoporosis and periodontal diseases are bone resorptive diseases; it has been hypothesized that osteoporosis could be a risk factor for the progression of periodontal disease and vice versa. Hypothetical models linking the two conditions exist: in particular, it is supposed that the osteoporosis-related bone mass density reduction may accelerate alveolar bone resorption caused by periodontitis, resulting in a facilitated periodontal bacteria invasion. Invading bacteria, in turn, may alter the normal homeostasis of bone tissue, increasing osteoclastic activity and reducing local and systemic bone density by both direct effects (release of toxins) and/or indirect mechanisms (release of inflammatory mediators). Current evidence provides conflicting results due to potential biases related to study design, samples size and endpoints. The aim of this article is to review and summarize the published literature on the associations between osteoporosis and different oral conditions such as bone loss in the jaws, periodontal diseases, and tooth loss. 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.
Key words:Osteoporosis, periodontitis, oral bone loss, tooth loss, edentulism, bone mineral density.