A healthy jaw bone is essential for a healthy mouth, and tooth loss is generally a bad sign when it comes to maintaining a healthy jaw bone. When teeth are missing, it can result in jaw bone loss at the site of the missing tooth. When the jaw bone is lost, you can experience other problems with your overall health and appearance, and you may deal with pain, problems with the remaining teeth, and an altered facial appearance. Eventually, you could also encounter issues with eating and speaking normally.
Why the Jaw Bone Relies on the Teeth
Healthy teeth are crucial for a healthy jaw bone. Similar to the way that your musculoskeletal system is maintained by exercising, your jaw bone tissue will be maintained with use. The natural teeth are situated in the jaw bone, and they stimulate the bone through biting, chewing, and other related activities. When teeth go missing, the portion of the bone that anchors the teeth into the mouth, known as the alveolar bone, will no longer get this necessary stimulation. This will cause it to reabsorb or break down, and since the body is no longer in need of the bone, it will start to deteriorate.
The Problems With Jaw Bone and Tooth Loss
If you no longer need the jaw bone since the teeth are gone, you may be wondering what the big deal is if the jawbone starts to deteriorate. Unfortunately, this bone loss can lead to a variety of potential consequences:
Oral Health and Bone Diseases
Certain diseases have also been shown to affect the jaw bone. In women, osteoporosis and tooth loss have become major health concerns. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become brittle and are more likely to fracture. This can occur with any bone in the body, but research has shown a link between jaw bone loss and osteoporosis. When the jaw bone loses density, tooth loss can result, and this is a common occurrence with older adults. In fact, tooth loss will affect around 33% of all adults over the age of 65.
There is also a connection between gum disease and jaw bone health. Periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease, and it is a chronic infection that will affect the gums and the jaw bone that supports the teeth. Bacteria and the immune system of the body will break down the bone, and this can result in teeth that become loose or fall out. It is thought that when alveolar bone density is lost, the rest of the bone will become more susceptible to bacteria, and this can increase the risk of tooth loss.