Could Dental Records Identify Osteoporosis
Dentists at Manchster University are working on a new technology that could diagnose the early onset of conditions like osteoporosis years before the condition takes hold.
Osteoporosis is a bone weakening disease, gradually making them thinner and more likely to break. It currently affects around 3 million people here in the UK.
Currently the only way to detect the problem is usually only after a fracture.
The study has shown that deterioration in the jaw bone – an area regularly x-rayed as part of our general dental care could tell doctors whether the bones are deteriorating in other areas of the body.
Studying some 5000 patients aged between 15 and 94, the doctors found that bone density on average did not usually reduce until around the age of 42, after which the density began to reduce. When comparing x-rays of other parts of the body, the jaw bones replicated what was happening in other parts of the body.
These results enabled Doctors and dentists to identify, often quite early on whether particular patients were at risk of developing osteoporosis, giving the patient a chance to be referred to a specialist before the problem takes hold.
A new software – called Osteodent is being developed for use by Dentists which the scientists at Manchester university say could, because of its ability to highlight the problem earlier than ever before, could save or improve the lives of thousands of people and save the tax payer millions of pounds along the way.