Resorption of alveolar bone, a characteristic observed in periodontal disease, in the totally edentulous mouth and in generalized osteoporosis, is a common world-wide phenomenon in man. Calcium deficiency and calcium-phosphorus imbalance are implicated as plausible factors in all three instances.

A compilation of recent investigations strongly suggests that oral bone loss, whether in periodontal disease or in the residual ridges, is an early manifestation of osteoporosis; and that osteoporosis, in general, is associated with disturbed calcium homeostasis.

This study, patterned after that of Wical and Swoope, was conducted on 55 subjects who had been totally edentulous for at least three years.

All subjects were classified according to degree of residual ridge resorption as measured in each individual's panoramic radio graph of the jaw. Group I represents the 22 subjects with minimal resorption, and Group II includes the 33 subjects with severe resorption.

Each participant kept a written 7 day meal record which was analyzed by a computer programmed for Agriculture Handbook No. 8.

The individual intakes covered a wide range of variation with considerable overlapping of the two groups. A comparison of the two groups by statistical analysis showed a significant difference be tween the mean daily intakes of both calcium (p < .01) and phosphor us (p < .001), but no noticeable difference between the means of the calcium-to-phosphorus ratios. However, a highly significant correlation (p < .0005) was noted in a three variable test wherein, each individual's intake of calcium and calcium-to-phosphorus ratio were compared with the degree of resorption.

These findings support the view that either a low intake of calcium or an excess of phosphorus in the diet contributes to the resorption of alveolar bone and that the problem is compounded when both conditions occur simultaneously.

Further analysis compared sex with resorption; sex with age; and age with resorption. The association between sex and resorption proved significant (p < .01) with 70 percent of the women but only 40 percent of the men suffering severe bone loss. The association between sex and age and between resorption and age was not significant except that the tests between sex and age showed a slight de crease in association with increasing age while those between resorption and age revealed a slight increase.

These results agree with the observation that oral bone loss is more prevalent among women than men; but disagree with the assumption that resorption of residual ridges is a "normal" part of aging.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Irma B. Vyhmeister

Second Advisor

Kenneth E. Wical

Third Advisor

U. D. Register

Fourth Advisor

Grenith J. Zimmerman

Fifth Advisor

Ralph R. Steinman

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Bone Resorption; Calcium, Dietary; Phosphorus



Page Count

vii; 59

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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