We all know very well about the benefits of visiting our dental care specialist once every 6 months. These regular check ups are an essential element of a proper dental care program and can help prevent serious dental problems, starting from tooth decay and ending up with gum disease. However, doing regular dental check ups with a professional dentist has plenty of other advantages. In particular, some serious diseases (especially infections and inflammations) can be diagnosed early by examining the tongue condition, and successfully treated after. Besides, according to the newest findings of British dental scientists, dental records like dental scans can be turned into a unique tool to prevent such common disease as osteoporosis. They can help identify osteoporosis risk and start treating this problem years before the disease starts progressing.
A group of scientists at Manchester University have presented their new developments and pioneering dental technology which received the name Osteodent. It can be used to analyze dental records of the patients and estimate their osteoporosis risk. It is reported that this health condition has been diagnosed in over three millions of British people, and it mainly affects women aged 50 and older. Osteoporosis is considered quite a serious health problem which is linked to a lack of calcium in bones and bone density reduction leading to bone-thinning and extremely high risks of bone fracture. At the same time, modern medicine still can not offer an effective way of diagnosing this health condition on its earliest stages, or even estimate osteoporosis risk in one or another person until an actual bone fracture takes place and the disease can be diagnosed based on this evidence.
British scientist studied bone deterioration which can be clearly seen in the jaw bone of dental patients. Such kind of dental records as x-ray usually performed before making a decision on one of another dental treatment, can help in detecting bone deterioration which is occurring in jaw and other bones of the body. Manchester University scientists came to these conclusions after analyzing 5,000 x-rays of people with dental problems, aged between 15 and 94. The scientists found out that by using this kind of dental records, it is possible to detect bone density changes. It has been very clearly seen especially in women: those aged below 42 did not demonstrate bone density changes, but those over 42 had clear signs of bone density loss linked to increased osteoporosis risk. Comparing x-rays of other bones helped to confirm that the changes similar to the ones in jaw bone took place in other body parts.
The scientists realize the importance of their findings and underline amazing opportunities modern dentists may have for estimating osteoporosis risk, early diagnosis and increasing the effectiveness of osteoporosis treatment. Hugh Devlin, one of the study leaders and professor of restorative dentistry at Manchester University said: ‘Dentists are uniquely positioned to provide such a service as they see patients regularly and routinely perform X-ray examinations.’ The findings helped Manchester University scientists develop a revolutionary technology, a new software to estimate an individual’s osteoporosis risk. It can give valuable information to dental care specialist taken from x-rays. Devlin is convinced that their technology can say a new word in osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment, and it can save hundreds or thousands of pounds used for osteoporosis treatment and preventive therapy techniques. More information about the study and the findings can be found in this article.