What does it mean by dental bone loss?
For our convenience, the term bone loss is differentiated to two types in our mouth. The loss of bone specifically involving jaw (alveolar) bone area but are not involving teeth is referred as dental bone loss. Meanwhile, teeth bone loss means loss of roots of teeth or the jaw bone surrounding teeth. At times, it is possible to have both bone loss happening simultaneously.
Why it is that most of us are concerned with this process happening in our mouths? It is simple; bone loss is equivalent to teeth loss. It causes teeth to be loose, mobile and bound to be extracted. It affects the ability of our teeth to function in proper chewing. Not to forget, receding gum lines would definitely affect the appearance of our dentition when we smile, talk or laugh.
What causes bone loss?
Most of us do have this question pondering in our heads, what is to blame? Several factors are attributed to this problem and most would point the finger to the most common risk factor of dental bone loss, gum disease. Yes, gum disease does not happen overnight and normally involves progression of it through several years.
Periodontitis is the chronic inflammation of the gum tissues involving thriving bacterial colonies (Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis) that eventually leads to bone loss through demineralisation. Bone loss could happen in a specific (localized) or widespread (generalized) region and inevitably leads to tooth loosening.
Other causes of dental bone loss includes tooth infections, complications of extractions, failure of root canal treatment, uncontrolled diabetes, osteoporosis, smoking, poor oral hygiene and old age.
Can it be arrested?
The good news is; it is possible! You may be able to stop and prevent it from worsening by arresting the causes right at this moment. Once bone loss is discovered and diagnosed, it is crucial to preserve the anchors of our teeth and the alveolar bones.
How do I stop its progression naturally?
The importance of oral hygiene is always stressed without fail by our dental professionals’. Therefore, ‘wave the magic wand’ to prevent most oral diseases in your mouth by brushing twice a day with the proper techniques and at least floss once a day before sleep.
Chlorhexidine mouthwash would be recommended for patient with gum disease sometimes. But bear in mind, staining with the use of it is inevitable.
Diet and supplements
There’s no doubt on the fact that a well balanced diet could attribute to maintain good bone health. Ensure your diet is filled with plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Consume more leafy dark green vegetables and dairy products. For vitamin D that encourages absorption of calcium in our bodies, take daily strolls or spend time outdoors with sunlight 20 minutes each day.
Also decrease the consumption of starchy sugar laden food to prevent diabetes. Include foods high in omega 3 fatty acids like salmon and olive oil in your daily meals.
Osteoporosis, which comes with age and decrease in bone density is another factor of dental bone loss. As recommended by the North American Menopause Society, if you happen to be a woman above the age 40, you need 1500 mg of calcium and 700 International Units of vitamin D per day because osteoporosis affects more during and after menopause. Calcium supplements are highly recommended to prevent loss of bone density overall of your body and this includes the alveolar bone of your jaw.
Habits that worsen gum health needed to be stop immediately with urgency. Smoking would encourage the progression of gum inflammation and bone loss.
Check your blood sugar level
Risk factor like diabetes with poorly controlled blood sugar levels increases gum disease and therefore became directly proportional to bone loss.
What about reversing it?
Reversing bone by natural methods is not actually possible and in fact a myth. Only treatment methods by professionals allow you to regenerate and reverse bone loss.
When to leave it to the professionals?
Once you have acquired gum disease, it is not possible to clean completely all the gum pockets. You have to make an appointment with a periodontist, a dentist which specializes in gum disease and bony support of our teeth.
Ask your doctor on the options of root planning and deep scaling (subgingival scaling). This way it would help to reduce plaque in the oral cavity especially those that accumulate in the pockets and beneath your gum lines. Your dentist would repeat the scaling procedure every 4-6 months if found you have inflammation of the gums.(gingivitis)
What are the treatments?
According to the American Dental Association, a few options like bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration (GTR) and ridge modification could reverse the bone loss mishap.
For bone grafting, a surgeon uses patent’s own bone or synthetic bone as a graft to regenerate bone and offer additional stability to teeth.
As for GTR, the procedure includes placement of a biocompatible membranes between bone and tooth. The material prevents unwanted tissues growing in the space and allows bone tissues regenerate.
In conclusion, only you alone are in charge of your oral health, therefore allow actions to take heed to stop its progression!