, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 447-454,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 25 Jun 2013

Copper deficit as a potential pathogenic factor of reduced bone mineral density and severe tooth wear

Abstract

Summary

The study evaluated if men and women with severe tooth wear were at increased risk of general bone loss. Enamel biopsies obtained from 50 subjects aged 47.5 ± 5 years showed decreased copper content, which was associated with reduced spine bone mineral density, suggesting deficits of this trace element contributing to bone demineralization, enamel attrition, and deteriorated quality of mineralized tissues.

Introduction

The objective of this cross-sectional study was to assess associations between enamel trace minerals and bone mineral density (BMD) in severe tooth wear. We hypothesized that similar factors contributed to both the excessive abrasion of dental enamel and reduced BMD in subjects with tooth wear.

Methods

Fifty patients aged 47.5 ± 5 years with severe tooth wear and 20 age-, sex-, and body mass index (BMI)-matched healthy volunteers with normal dental status were studied regarding dietary intakes of trace elements, serum and salivary copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and calcium (Ca) concentrations, and serum PTH, osteocalcin, and hydroxyvitamin D levels. Tooth wear was determined using clinical examination based on standard protocol according to Smith and Knight. In all subjects, acid biopsies of the maxillary central incisors were carried out to assess mineral composition of the enamel. Atomic absorption spectroscopy with an air/acetylene flame was used to measure Ca and Zn, and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy was used to analyze Cu content. BMD was examined using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Results

Tooth wear patients had reduced lumbar spine, but not femoral, BMD relative to controls (p < 0.001). No differences were found in enamel Ca concentration and Zn content was slightly higher in tooth wear patients than in controls whereas Cu content was significantly decreased in the patients: 19.59 ± 16.4 vs 36.86 ± 26.1 μg/l (p = 0.01) despite similar levels of Cu in serum and saliva. The differences were independent of serum 25-OH-D, osteocalcin concentrations or PTH either.

Conclusion

Severe tooth wear is associated with reduced spinal BMD. Enamel in adult individuals with severe tooth wear is low in copper content. Therefore, further work is needed to determine whether copper plays a role in bone pathophysiology in these patients.

Dr. Teresa Sierpinska and Dr. Jerzy Konstantynowicz contributed equally to this paper.