- Maintain good oral hygiene to defend against bone loss.
- Consider tooth replacement options for lost teeth, such as dental implants, bridges, and partial dentures.
- Swap out sugary drinks for healthier alternatives.
- Stop smoking or chewing tobacco from reducing the risk of gum disease and other health issues.
- Take steps to protect and preserve the jawbone for good oral health.
Did you know that one in three adults over 50 is affected by jawbone loss? This occurs when the jawbone deteriorates due to gum disease, tooth decay, or an accident. In some cases, losing a tooth can cause the jawbone to become weak. While it’s impossible to reverse bone loss in your jaw completely, there are steps you can take to protect your jawbone and prevent further deterioration. Here’s what you can do:
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is the first defense against bone loss. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes is essential for keeping plaque and tartar off your teeth and gums.
Flossing daily helps remove food particles that brushing alone can’t reach, preventing bacteria from getting trapped in hard-to-reach places between teeth and the gum line. Make sure to visit your dentist regularly—at least once every six months—and follow any instructions they provide for adequately taking care of your mouth.
Don’t Neglect Tooth Loss
If you lost a tooth due to gum disease, decay, or an accident, replacing it can help preserve your jawbone. Many tooth replacement solutions are available to make you look and feel like you have your natural tooth back. Speaking to your dentist would be the best way to determine which tooth replacement option is appropriate for you, but here are some of the most common ones:
Dental implants are titanium posts surgically implanted into the jawbone beneath the gums. The implant is a permanent replacement for the root of the missing tooth, providing stability and support for a false tooth or bridge. Dental implants are considered one of the most successful and durable options for replacing missing teeth, with success rates as high as 98%. They also look and feel like natural teeth, so they’re ideal if you’re looking for a long-term solution.
Dentures may be worth considering if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option. Dentures are removable appliances used to replace multiple missing teeth at once. They have an acrylic base that fits snugly over your gums and plastic or false porcelain teeth attached to them. While dentures don’t offer as much durability as dental implants, they are affordable for those who don’t want or need something permanent.
A dental bridge is essentially an artificial tooth (or several) designed to fill in gaps between existing natural teeth—no surgery is required! Bridges span gaps between one or more missing teeth and usually involve two crowns with one or more false teeth in between them (hence the name). Just like dentures, bridges aren’t permanent solutions but can be a great choice if you’re looking for something fast and relatively inexpensive.
Partial dentures are ideal for people who still have some natural teeth and are looking to replace one or more that are missing. Unlike complete dentures, partial dentures only cover a portion of the mouth and don’t require removal at night. They consist of replacement teeth attached to plastic.
Swap Out Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, and energy drinks are packed with sugar that can lead to tooth decay if consumed too often or in large quantities. If you find yourself craving something sweet or caffeinated, try switching out sugary drinks with healthier alternatives like herbal tea or sparkling water with a splash of natural fruit juice for flavor. Doing so will help reduce the risk of cavities in your teeth due to excessive sugar consumption.
Stop Smoking or Chewing Tobacco
Smoking or chewing tobacco can increase the chances of developing gum disease and other serious health issues like cancer and heart disease. Cigarette chemicals weaken gums, making them more susceptible to infection and inflammation, leading to bone loss in the jaw area over time. If you smoke or chew tobacco products regularly, consider quitting right away before it causes any long-term damage to your dental health.
Taking care of your jawbone is essential for maintaining good oral health and preventing further deterioration due to gum disease or tooth decay. It’s time to be proactive and take steps toward protecting and preserving your jawbone. With simple lifestyle changes and regular dental visits, you can reduce the risk of bone loss in your jaw and keep your teeth strong for years to come.