Chew on These Facts About Bone Health and Jaw Health
We have 106 bones, and they all are susceptible, but the bone of our spine and hip seem to be among the most fragile. This is why we use DXA scans of our Bone Mineral Density to check on our bones. There is an old wives saying that "we lose a tooth for each pregnancy" and it reflects the fact that we pass a significant amount of our body's calcium to our developing fetuses and our breastfeeding babies. The 'chewing' in this story of calcium has to do with the bones of your teeth. Physicians have never believed that in truth we lose bone faster in our teeth or jaws than in other areas of the body. So a group of researchers from India lead by Annu Makker, PhD, set to find out if the jaw is a place of specifically high bone loss in some women. And it is true, the bones of our teeth (and sometimes the jaw) are the only bones not covered by tissue, so exposed to the harsh environment of whatever we put in our mouth to chew. Thus bones of the teeth and jaw do wear a bit faster than in other places of our skeleton as these researchers discovered.
Women in menopause lose bone, and for each 1% change in your bone mass your risk for tooth loss goes up and in some studies this risk quadruples! It may be that if your dentist discovers particularly bad bone health, he should recommend standard bone density testing, as it may be a sign that you have bone thinning to the point of low bone mass (osteopenia) or a bone disease (osteoporosis). So there's another piece of advice: make sure your dentist gabs with your gyno if you are showing tooth loss! And finally, can you have too much calcium? The answer is yes! In a study published in the BMJ in 2010, getting 600 to 1000 mg of calcium per day is healthy, but over 1400 mg per day, in older women led to heart attacks! Abnormally high calcium intake can also cause kidney stones. So remember girls, too much of a good thing, is not good.