Did you know that bone loss in the jaw can lead to a variety of health problems? It can cause issues with the teeth, such as loose teeth, difficulty chewing and speaking, and even tooth loss. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent and stop bone loss in your jaw. Let’s take a look at what causes bone loss and what you can do about it.
Bone Density Loss
Bone density loss is a problem that occurs when the body begins to break down and reabsorb bone tissue. This loss of density can be responsible for creating a lack of stability in the jaw structure and even in the teeth themselves, beginning with loosening and even loss of teeth. Furthermore, the loss of teeth due to accidental impacts or traumas to the mouth also increases the likelihood and rate of bone density loss. Teeth are critically important to the structural integrity of the mouth and jaw, and when teeth are lost, the area of the bone surrounding the gap where the tooth was can start to degrade and become weaker.
Symptoms of Jaw Bone Loss
You may not notice the early stages of bone loss in your jaw. As bone resorption increases, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Changes in your bite and facial structure
- Discomfort when you chew
- Wrinkles begin to form around your mouth
- Shifting or loosening of your teeth
- Lips begin to sink inward
- Wrinkled skin around your mouth
- Headaches, facial pain, and jaw pain
- Increased difficulty speaking
- If you wear dentures, changes in the fit and comfort of your replacement teeth
What Causes Bone Loss?
Bone loss in the jaw is primarily caused by periodontal diseases (gum diseases). These are caused by bacteria that build up on the teeth over time due to poor oral hygiene. The bacteria irritate the gums, which leads to inflammation and eventually to gum recession. This causes pockets of infected tissue around the teeth, which then leads to bone destruction.
How Can You Prevent or Stop Bone Loss?
There are plenty of ways you are able to prevent bone loss in teeth naturally. This stems from keeping your teeth healthy and clean, so practice the following:
Improve your oral hygiene.
Practising good oral hygiene habits is the best way to prevent or stop bone loss. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and regularly using an antibacterial mouthwash.
Visit your dentist regularly.
Seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. This will help remove plaque buildup on your teeth that could lead to periodontal disease.
Follow a healthy diet.
Eating a healthy diet low in sugar can also help reduce plaque buildup on your teeth over time.
If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting will reduce your risk of developing gum disease and associated bone loss.
Take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Get 1000 to 1200 milligrams (mg) of calcium and 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D each day from calcium and vitamin D-rich foods and take supplements only if needed.
See your dentist if you have symptoms.
It’s also important to get regular dental exams to identify any signs of bone loss early on. Your dentist may recommend x-rays or other diagnostic tests if they suspect there is bone loss occurring in your jaw.
What are Treatment Options for Jawbone Loss?
Treatment options may include medications or surgery, depending on the severity of the problem. Your dental professional is best positioned to help you determine the source of the abnormal resorption.
If you have one or more missing teeth and still have enough bone density, it may be recommended that you get dental implants. Implants not only replace teeth but also stimulate the bone and can restore the natural balance of osseointegration and resorption in your jaw.
If you’ve already experienced significant bone loss, bone grafting may be necessary before your dental professional can place an implant in your jaw. If your bone loss isn’t related to tooth loss, bone grafting is still a treatment that can do more than replace bone, but stimulate bone growth, too.
If your high level of resorption is due to a condition like osteoporosis, your healthcare and dental professional may need to collaborate on treatment for you. Bone loss caused by osteoporosis can be treated with various medications or hormone therapies depending on your age, gender, and whether or not you have other medical conditions.
If you do need surgery, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon who specializes in treating periodontal diseases that cause bone loss in the jawbone. They will be able to provide you with more information about what treatment option is right for you based on their assessment of your condition.
Bone loss in the jaw can have serious consequences if left untreated, but luckily there are steps we can take to prevent it from happening or stop it from progressing further if it has already started occurring. The most important thing is practising good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, using an antibacterial mouthwash regularly, and seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings as well as getting regular dental exams so any signs of bone loss can be identified early on.
Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet filled with nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables will provide your body with the nutrients it needs for optimal health overall. These steps will help ensure that your jaw remains healthy for years to come!