Previously we examined why your jaw bone is so important. Now I’m going to explain how to easily prevent bone loss and maintain that foundation.
Top ways to prevent bone loss
1. Save your teeth!
2. Brush your teeth 2x a day for 2 minutes
3. Floss or waterpik or use gum picks daily (or as many times a week as you can)
4. Wear a night guard!
5. Go to the dentist regularly
6. Don’t smoke
7. Don’t get in any accidents!
Now a little further explanation of the above:
1. Set an intention to save your teeth. You don’t need to save all 32 of your adult teeth, but set an intention to make saving your teeth important. Having teeth to support gives your jaw bone a job and keeps your bone from shrinking. In an upcoming post, I’ll explain your different teeth (molars versus front teeth), explain their different functions, and provide a practical guide to which teeth to save and replace when you need to lose them and why.
2. Brush your teeth 2x a day for 2 minutes. Cavities and periodontal disease (aka inflammation and bone loss) is caused by bacteria. If that bacteria is removed effectively, then those things can’t happen. You don’t need to be perfect and brush 10 times a day. In a future post I’ll get more into brushing, however, here’s the gist of it - you need to remove leftover food and bacteria from your mouth. Sticking your toothbrush in your mouth for 20 sec. twice a day isn’t as effective as brushing for 2 solid minutes before you go to bed at night. Why? Because it’s not really about how MANY times you brush your teeth in a day, but how thoroughly you remove the grime.
3. Floss, waterpik, and/or gum pick daily (or as many times a week as you can). Again, this goes back to effectively removing the grime. Whichever method you use doesn’t really matter, what matters most is removing the leftover food and drink particles and the bad bacteria that use them as fuel to destroy your teeth.
4. Wear a night guard! Almost everyone subconsciously grinds and/or clenches their teeth while sleeping and wearing a night guard is a fabulous way to preserve your teeth and save them from wearing down over time. I wear one every night, again a future post will explain this more in depth. But remember back to my post about how amazing your mouth is, and I explained the masseter (which is in your cheeks and allows you to chew your food) is the strongest muscle based on weight in the body. If you clench or grind your teeth at night you’ll eventually wear down your teeth and potentially your jaw bone. It is impossible to stop because we do it unconsciously in our sleep therefore, you have to prevent the damage with a night guard.
5. Go to the dentist regularly. If you start when you’re young, (other than accidents or rare diseases) there’s no need for you to have a problem maintaining your jaw bone. Getting your teeth cleaned regularly is so important because it removes bacteria and decreases inflammation that causes the breakdown of your bone. Also, it removes the bacteria that causes cavities that can cause you to lose your teeth. When you were young, if you didn’t do a good job brushing your teeth or going to the dentist that’s ok, don’t feel bad, it’s the past, move on and set an intention to start now. Better late than never.
6. Smoking is very bad for gums. It causes inflammation and greatly contributes to periodontal disease. You can read more about the effects of smoking and your mouth here at the CDC.
7. Don’t get into any accidents….that’s so easy. Good luck!