Calcium and vitamin D supplements have been shown to slow the rate of bone loss at different parts of the body, such as the hip and forearm. New findings suggest that nutritional interventions aimed at preventing osteoporosis may also have a beneficial impact on tooth retention.
In the study, researchers from Boston University measured tooth loss in 145 healthy men and women aged 65 and older who were participating in a trial of the effect of calcium and vitamin D supplements on bone loss from the hip. Individuals received either a placebo or 500 mg of calcium and 700 units of vitamin D daily.
Fewer of the participants in the supplements group lost teeth than did participants in the placebo group. During the 2.5-year interval, 13% of the subjects in the supplements group lost one or more teeth, while 24% of subjects in the placebo group lost teeth. For subjects taking supplements, the chance of losing teeth was only about 40% as great as that for subjects taking placebos.
Since bone loss is the hallmark of osteoporosis, bone loss in the oral cavity leads to an increased risk for tooth loss. The findings of this study provide good evidence that nutritional supplements aimed at prevention of osteoporosis may also reduce the incidence of tooth loss.
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