You already know how important it is to visit the dentist routinely to protect your teeth. But I'm going to give you another reason to visit your dentist every year - it could save your bones.

That's right! A regular visit to your dentist can help you spot osteoporosis in time to stop its progression. Here's how:

Thanks to new digital X-ray equipment, dental X-rays allow us to see incredible detail in the jawbone. In fact, when I first saw a digital dental X-ray several years ago, the detail simply blew me away.

Now a new study suggests that these new X-rays can find a lot more than dental problems. They can also help reveal bone loss with amazing accuracy.

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The study involved 49 women. The researchers divided them into two separate groups. One group had 26 women with confirmed osteoporosis. The other 23 women did not have the disease. They took dental X-rays of all of them. They then subjected the X-rays to three different computer analyses (Fourier, strut, and wavelet).

The study found that all three types of image analysis - alone or in various combinations - were able to correctly spot osteoporosis from the X-rays. The combination of Fourier and strut analyses was the most accurate.

And just how accurate was it? This combination correctly identified 92% of patients with osteoporosis. And it also correctly diagnosed 96% of patients without the disease.

These numbers are exciting. There's a high rate of correct positives. And a very small amount of false negatives. The numbers beat those of most other screening methods. And I like this method much better. It's easier and safer.

So ask your dentist about this. It's easy for them to do the analysis. They just need to get the software to analyze your digital films.

What if your tests are positive? You'll need to have your most vulnerable areas screened. These include your hip and lumbar spine. And you should also read my website for nutritional therapies that can stop the disease
( In the last 10 years, I don't know of one patient who has had her osteoporosis get worse while carefully following these tips.

Men, you need to pay attention to this too. While you're more resistant to this disease than women, you're not immune. If you do face it, everything that I have written about for women and osteoporosis can help you as well.

Bone 2004;35(2):403-411.

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