Understanding The Processes Related to Bone Resorption

Posted on Wednesday, June 14th, 2023 | 1,112 views

X-ray of bone resorptionYou may have heard of bone resorption and are wondering what it is. Bone resorption is like our body’s recycling service for our bones. Special cells called osteoclasts, break down old bone and release important nutrients into our bloodstream.

Understanding The Biological Process

Your Bones Are Always Changing

Our bones are a lot like a busy city–there’s always construction and demolition happening. This process is called bone remodeling, and it’s an essential process our body uses for keeping our bones strong and healthy.

Osteoclasts

Osteoclasts are multinucleated phagocytic cells that degrade bone to initiate normal bone remodeling and control bone loss by increasing their resorptive activity. They attach to old or damaged areas and break them down. This process, known as bone resorption, is vital for our bone health. [source]

Causes of Increased Bone Resorption

Many things can speed up bone resorption including changes in our hormones (especially in women after menopause) to certain health conditions like osteoporosis, and even aging. 

There are a number of factors that can speed up the process of bone resorption. Here’s a list:

  1. Aging: As people age the rate of bone resorption generally increases.
  2. Hormonal changes: Decreases in estrogen levels can accelerate bone resorption.
  3. Hyperparathyroidism: Overactive parathyroid glands can lead to increased bone resorption.
  4. Medications: Long-term use of certain medications, like corticosteroids, can increase bone resorption.
  5. Lack of physical activity: Regular exercise, weight-bearing and resistance activities help stimulate bone formation.
  6. Poor nutrition: A diet deficient in calcium and vitamin D can lead to increased bone resorption.
  7. Excessive alcohol consumption: Alcohol can interfere with the balance of calcium in the body and affect the production of hormones that protect the bones, leading to increased bone resorption.
  8. Tobacco use: Smoking can reduce bone density and increase the risk of fractures, potentially due to increased bone resorption.
  9. Certain diseases: Osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain cancers can cause rapid bone resorption.
  10. Genetic Factors: Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Paget’s disease are examples of factors that can cause bone resorption.

When bone resorption in the jawbone has become so severe, a full mouth rehabilitation is usually required in order to bring the jawbone, teeth and gums back to a healthy, functional state and restore the patient’s oral health and comfort.

Genes Play a Role in Bone Resorption

Our genes play a major influence in bone resorption too. Some people inherit conditions that can affect their bone health. That’s why it’s important for us to know our family’s medical history and ensure that we are forthwith about it with our doctor and dentist.

Treating Bone Resorption

Treatment often includes medication to slow down bone resorption and changes in lifestyle like exercising regularly, eating a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D, and avoiding smoking and alcohol.

In certain severe cases—like when there is significant bone loss leading to fractures or other structural problems—surgery may be necessary. In cases of jawbone resorption, for example, bone grafting could be considered.

Depending on the cause and severity of the bone resorption, a referral to a specialist such as an endocrinologist, rheumatologist, or orthopedic surgeon, may be appropriate for further management.

Preventing Rapid Bone Resorption

Prevention is key in bone health. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking and excessive drinking can keep our bones strong. Often, we don’t realize our bones are getting weaker until we suffer a fracture or persistent back pain as an example. 

There are several measures—supported by scientific evidence—that can help prevent or slow down bone resorption:

Healthy diet: A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D helps maintain bone health. Dairy, leafy greens, salmon and sardines and other foods like fatty fish, beef liver, and egg yolks.

Regular exercise: Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are particularly beneficial as they stimulate bone formation. This can include activities like walking, jogging, tennis, dancing, and weightlifting.

Reduce alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol interferes with the balance of calcium in the body and affect bone health. Limiting one’s intake of alcohol can help maintain strong and healthy bones.

Quit smoking: Smoking decreases bone density and increase the risk of fractures. Quitting smoking is a significant step towards preventing bone resorption. Excessive bone resorption is found in most dental patients with gum disease and multiple tooth loss.

Regular Checkups: Especially for those at risk, regular bone density tests can help in the early detection of increased bone resorption, allowing for early intervention. Also, regular visits with your dentist will ensure any jawbone loss is caught before the symptoms become worse and cause more damage to the teeth and surrounding tissue. 

Hormone Therapy: For women at high risk of osteoporosis, doctors can recommend a number of medications and therapies (like estrogen therapy) to prevent bone loss.

Bone-Healthy Medications: In some cases medications like bisphosphonates, RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitors, or parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) analogs can be used prophylactically. 

The Future of Bone Resorption Research

Researchers are constantly working on better treatments and diagnostics for conditions related to bone resorption but it’s always best to take preventative steps to ensure your bones are healthy, strong, and last a lifetime.

If you live in Brantford and are experiencing symptoms of bone resorption in your jawbone, Dr. Pio Modi will help you by diagnosing the level of bone loss you have and create an appropriate treatment plan that will address the problem accordingly. 

Remember the quicker rapid bone resorption issues are addressed, the better your bones will last a lifetime.

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