Losing teeth has many detrimental effects, from complicating eating your favourite foods to allowing other teeth to shift out of place. Most people think they can guard against this threat through strong oral hygiene habits. However, many people may be at risk for bone density loss, which may increase the likelihood of tooth loss.
Statistics show that tooth and bone density loss affect numerous people. Two-thirds of Americans between ages 35 and 44 have lost at least one tooth, while one in four adults over 65 has no permanent teeth remaining. 40 million Americans have osteoporosis or a high risk of developing it. Considering these numbers, it’s important that people understand what they can do to prevent tooth and bone density loss.
Protecting Tooth and Bone Strength
Certain lifestyle changes support both tooth and bone health. The strength of bones and tooth enamel can be improved through the addition of healthy dietary sources of calcium and Vitamin D, including:
- Low-fat milk or fortified soy milk
- Yogurt and cheese
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Calcium-enriched products such as orange juice
Reducing alcohol consumption and smoking also offers benefits for bone strength. Unfortunately, certain medications and hormonal deficiencies can raise the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis, which may leave victims more susceptible to tooth loss.
Connections Between Tooth and Bone Loss
Poor bone strength and low bone density may increase the likelihood of teeth being lost. Research indicates that women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to lose teeth than other women. Some studies suggest that lower bone density, periodontal disease, and tooth loss could be correlated because bone density loss leaves people more susceptible to infections from periodontal bacteria.
Unfortunately, people with healthy bones who lose teeth will experience local bone density loss. This occurs because the root of the tooth normally stimulates the bone that it is anchored in, causing bone cells to regenerate. When the tooth and stimulation are lost, bone maintenance stops. When people have lost all of their teeth, bone density decreases can be obvious in as little as a year. Bone density loss can visibly change facial structure, causing the appearance of premature aging.
Solutions That We Offer
At Desired Smiles, we offer dental implants to patients who are missing teeth and at risk of losing bone density. Implants are anchored directly in the jawbone, so they stabilize bone density. At the same time, implants serve as a comfortable tooth replacement that is virtually impossible to recognize as artificial. We still encourage patients to be proactive about protecting their teeth with a balanced diet and good hygiene habits, but when these measures aren’t enough, we work with every patient to find the best solution for missing teeth.