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J Can Dent Assoc. 2012;78:c29.

Building osteoporosis prevention into dental practice.

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Department ofHealth Studies and Gerontology, University of Waterloo.



The National Report Card on Osteoporosis Care (2008) announced the need for comprehensive approaches to risk reduction and improvement in the early diagnosis of osteoporosis. Dental research has suggested that low systemic bone-mineral density also occurs in alveolar bone, and people with osteoporosis may have an increased risk of tooth loss. Whether or not a causal link exists, both conditions share similar modifiable risk factors, including a role for calcium and vitamin D. The purpose of this paper was to critically examine the role calcium and vitamin D play in the relationship between osteoporosis and the risk of tooth loss.


Scientific articles were obtained through PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, AgeLine and Web of Science. Publications were restricted to those involving human subjects, and English-language articles on calcium and vitamin D. The search yielded 8 articles relating to osteoporosis and tooth loss that included calcium and vitamin D intake.


Despite methodological concerns, the evidence shows a relationship between osteoporosis and tooth loss for people who have an inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D. Adequate calcium intake positively influences optimal peak bone mass and may also assist in tooth retention in later life.


The dental sector can assist with national prevention strategies for osteoporosis care.

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