Bone loss around the teeth and in the jaws is a lot more common than you might think and can occur after losing teeth or, more commonly, as a result of ‘periodontal disease’ or ‘gum disease’. This disease is where the bacteria in dental plaque causes the bone supporting the teeth to be gradually eaten away.
Bone loss in gums can affect people of all ages, even those that have had perfectly healthy teeth. However, it is more common as you age.
We’ve created a helpful guide outlining everything you need to know about rebuilding bone loss in gums.
What is dental bone loss?
Dental bone loss occurs when the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth shrinks as a result of disease or infection, and can lead to the teeth becoming loose, moving and spreading out.
Bone loss can also affect the underlying jawbone when a tooth is lost or has to be removed, and this also can lead to both shrinkage of the jawbone and gums.
How will you know if you are suffering from bone loss?
If your teeth have started to move, loosen, or your gums have shrunk, swollen or bleed when you brush your teeth, then it’s likely you are suffering from gum disease and bone loss. It’s vital that you seek professional advice and treatment straight away, as you could ultimately end up losing your teeth.
Common signs are a gap or gaps opening up between the teeth, bad breath, mobile teeth, swollen or bleeding gums or gum recession.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your dentist straight away.
Causes of bone loss around teeth
Tooth loss and periodontal disease are the most common causes of bone loss in gums. Another cause of bone loss around the teeth could be due to damage caused by trauma i.e. accidents, assaults.
However, one of the biggest factors influencing the susceptibility to periodontal disease or gum disease and bone loss in gums is smoking. There is a veritable wealth of evidence that shows unequivocally that smoking not only increases the susceptibility to gum disease and bone loss, but also significantly increases the amount of damage done by the disease. Smoking can also reduce the effectiveness of treatment.
Poor nutrition and some serious medical conditions may also increase the susceptibility to bone loss.
How to save teeth with bone loss
The good news is that there are a number of ways that teeth with bone loss can be saved, before it reaches the stage of losing your teeth all-together. Proper periodontal therapy in combination with good home oral hygiene (proper tooth brushing, flossing and interdental cleaning) can eradicate the disease and even regrow some of the bone loss.
The bone surrounding your teeth can be regenerated through regenerative grafting in order to optimise bone support and keep your teeth in place. The bone can also be regenerated after losing your teeth in order to place dental implants to replace and restore the missing or lost teeth.
How to prevent bone loss
Prevention is always better than a cure! Good home dental care and oral hygiene, proper tooth brushing (a good electric tooth brush and using it correctly), interdental cleaning with dental floss and/or interdental brushes, a healthy diet and lifestyle, quitting or avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol are all good habits that will keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Most people don’t really know how to brush their teeth correctly so it’s always a great idea to have your dentist, dental hygienist or other dental care professional show you the best way to look after your teeth and gums.