Your teeth are vital to your health. Not only do they help you maintain your beautiful smile, they are also a critical part of your everyday activities. Your teeth help you chew your food, shape your face, and they even aid in speaking. When you start to notice issues with your teeth, it is vital for you to have them taken care of as soon as possible to prevent long-term damage. One such issue that you may experience, especially as you get older, is bone loss in your teeth. Understanding the condition and learning about different ways to prevent bone loss in teeth can help you avoid issues in the long-term.
Why Bone Loss Happens
Bone loss is typically understood to be a common consequence of numerous factors. It happens with a natural loss of teeth and with chronic periodontitis (gum disease). If the individual suffers from periodontitis, the harmful bacteria will gradually eat away at the teeth and the underlying jawbone, damaging the periodontal ligaments that keep the teeth connected to the bone. Studies show that the most common cause for bone loss is tooth loss. If teeth are left unreplaced, the underlying jaw starts to lose bone mass and density. The body reabsorbs the calcium once that section of the jawbone is no longer preserved through the pressure of chewing. The alveolar bone is the bone that forms ridges where the teeth are embedded, and it is typically here that the damage becomes the most prominent and visible. There is no way to predict the way the damage will look, as the ridges will atrophy in both horizontal and vertical arrays.
Once the individual starts to see the warning signs for such atrophy, proper medical actions must be taken. Just replacing the teeth with dentures will not solve the problem, because the dentures only exert a small amount of the same chewing pressure that natural teeth exert. Studies show that this pressure can be as low as 10% of the amount exerted. Additionally, individuals may experience faster atrophy and resorption of the jawbone because of the expansion in the sinus cavity. If there are no teeth in place, the sinus cavity’s air pressure will cause faster resorption.
Additionally, bone loss can be caused by a number of other factors. These causes include things such as misaligned teeth and bone loss through infection. When normal chewing does not occur, bone loss occurs as a result of the missing stimulus in the bone.
What You Can Do to Prevent It
One of the best ways for you to avoid bone loss in your teeth is to make sure that you take care of them as diligently as possible. This means planning for a dental maintenance routine and sticking to it. Try your best to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and to floss at least once a day. Something that many people do by mistake is rinse their mouth instead of just spitting out the toothpaste. Rinsing gets rid of the fluoride, which forms a protective coating over your teeth after you are done brushing.
In addition to following proper tooth care techniques, individuals may need to change up other aspects of their lifestyle in order to optimize their bone health. Always try to optimize your calcium and vitamin D intake. These critical nutrients have been shown to tremendously improve bone health, not only strengthening existing bones but also preventing further bone loss in the future. If you smoke regularly, it is vital for you to quit as soon as possible. In addition to establishing a number of health defects, smoking can also hurt your bone health and exacerbate tooth loss. Studies have also found that probiotics encourage gum and tooth health over the long-term.
How Professionals Help
Even individuals who have experienced significant bone loss in their teeth may be able to recover a portion of it through the right procedures.
Bone grafting is one such procedure. In cases where the bone is already lost, dental professionals can work with enough bone to establish an implant. This procedure is particularly beneficial, because not only does it allow the tooth implant to settle better, but it can also encourage the jawbone to regrow. The procedure is minimally invasive as well, and can be set at around the same time as a standard implant.
In sensitive areas where the bone is thinner, a sinus lift may be necessary instead. The bones here are too thin for a dental bone graft, but professionals will be able to lift the sinus cavity away from the jaw so that the space where it used to be can be packed with bone graft material. Once the material integrates into the jawbone, professionals can then proceed with other necessary dental implants.