Your jawbone supports your teeth. Your teeth enable you to speak and chew. Additionally, they keep your facial structure intact. Without a healthy jawbone, your teeth will eventually loosen and fall out or require extraction. Keeping your jawbone healthy requires good oral health care.
#1 Reason for Jawbone Loss
Not all jawbone loss comes from poor dental hygiene and gum disease. Other potential causes of bone loss include accidents, osteoporosis, tumors, medications, and the natural act of aging. However, the most common reason for jawbone loss is due to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is advanced gum disease in which your red, swollen, and bleeding gums begin to pull away from your teeth and create pockets where the infection grows. As your body fights the infection, it naturally breaks down the bone and connective tissue. Eventually, your teeth will loosen and fall out.
The best way to prevent periodontal disease is through proper oral care. This includes brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing daily, and visiting your dental professional on a regular basis.
Bone Grafting Used to Replace Jawbone Loss
Throughout life, your body reabsorbs old bone as it creates new bone. This process, known as ossification, keeps your bones healthy and strong by eliminating weak, brittle, fragile bones. A problem arises, however, when your body reabsorbs more bone than it creates.
If you’ve lost jawbone over the course of your life, chances are you’ve also lost a tooth or two as well. Therefore, you may be considering what to do next. Should you get a dental bridge, dentures, or dental implants?
Should you decide that your best option is to get dental implants and you’ve lost a significant part of your jawbone, your dental professional will likely recommend bone grafting.
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure used to replace bone loss. When used as part of dental implant treatments and procedures, your dental professional replaces your jawbone with material from your body or with a natural, artificial, or synthetic substitute.
A Healthy Mouth is a Happy Mouth
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS):
Statistics show that 69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal, or tooth decay. Furthermore, by age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth.
These numbers illustrate the importance of protecting yourself from jawbone loss. In addition to good oral health care, the National Institute of Health offers these ideas to help maintain strong bones:
- Eat food high in calcium and vitamin D
- Get plenty of exercise
- Limit your intake of alcohol
- Stop smoking
If you have any concerns about periodontal disease, tooth loss, or other dental problems discuss your concerns with your dental professional.