In a series of dental articles, the Saskatoon dental team at Neesh Dental share interesting dental information and education. In our latest post, we discuss periodontal disease is the more serious form of gum disease, a condition that causes sore, inflamed gums. If left untreated it can eventually lead to bone loss around the teeth – and tooth loss.- we want to share some advice on preventing bone loss and share some treatment options
Brush up your dental health
Here are some simple ways to protect your teeth and gums to stop bone loss and prevent it from getting any worse.
- Brush twice a day: Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes twice a day in the morning and last thing at night, preferably with a toothbrush with a small head.
- See your dentist regularly: You should visit your dentist at least every six months and see a dental hygienist for extra cleaning if needed.
- Floss before brushing: Everyone should use floss or interdental brushes to clean between their teeth once a day. Interdental brushes are advised over floss if you have periodontitis as they do a better job of clearing food debris and plaque between the teeth.
- Spit don’t rinse: Many of us make the mistake of rinsing our mouths after brushing. This washes out the protective fluoride left behind by brushing, which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on the teeth produce.
Other ways to protect yourself
- Make calcium and vitamin D a priority: Calcium is critically important to bone health. A review, published by Journal of Dentistry, found that among 17 studies, 11 showed having osteoporosis (fragile bones) was associated with a higher risk of bone loss in the jaw bone . To help maintain bone density include plenty of calcium-rich foods in your diet, such as cheese, milk, kale, watercress and sardines or take a calcium supplement.
Vitamin D is also crucial for bone health as it aids the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is found in many foods, including: egg yolks; oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines); dairy products and fortified margarine; and meat (liver and kidney).
Sunshine, not food, is the main source though. Alternatively, take a combined calcium and vitamin D supplement.
- Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of periodontitis as it increases plaque production and reduces bone mass. A study, published by Singapore Dental Journal, found smoking and age were major risk factors for tooth loss.
- Eat a healthy diet: Vitamin C deficiency can cause gingivitis and bleeding gums. Eat vitamin C rich-foods, such as peppers, broccoli and kiwi, or, alternatively consider taking a vitamin C supplement. A 2017 review suggested vitamin C, vitamin D or vitamin B12 deficiencies may be related to the progression and onset of periodontal disease. Also, include calcium-rich foods in your diet such as milk and cheese to help form strong teeth and bones.
- Control your blood sugar: An estimated one in three people with diabetes also has periodontitis at some point, due to high blood glucose levels. Exercise can help reduce blood sugar levels, and walking is a great way to do this.
- Take probiotics: Recent studies have found probiotics not only benefit your gut but can also help with gum health. A review of 12 studies found taking oral probiotics is a safe and effective way to manage periodontitis, alongside scaling by a dental hygienist.
Preventing bone loss
Bone loss can be prevented by giving the jawbone a replacement tooth with a root that can exert the same or similar pressure as natural teeth. This is done immediately after extraction by replacing single teeth with dental implants, or by using a fixed implant-supported bridge or denture.
A single-tooth implant or a dental bridge with three to four teeth supported by two implants provide a chewing power of 99% of natural bite force. A denture secured with dental implants, provides about 70% to 80% of normal biting force and helps considerably in preventing bone loss.
What about the loss of bone density?
When bones lose density it becomes more porous. Density loss is much less common than loss of bone volume but is something we need to watch out for. Bone can lose density because of a variety of factors, including diet, hormonal imbalance, disease, lifestyle, and even tooth loss.
The whiter the colour of the bone in the X-ray, the denser it is. We can then avoid these areas of low density, or take precautions by using special implants with a surface that draws the bone to it, which creates denser bone around the implant.
Bone Grafting Video
In cases where the bone has already been lost, bone grafting might be needed to provide enough bone for dental implant placement. We need enough height of the ridge for any teeth replacement with implants, and when replacing the back teeth (molars), we also need enough width.
We also use bone grafting to repair damaged and lost bone around teeth that have suffered from severe gum disease.
A bone graft not only replaces lost bone, it also stimulates the jawbone to regrow and eventually replaces the bone graft with the patient’s own, healthy bone. We use a variety of different types of bone graft material, depending on the patient, including new cutting-edge materials that require less healing time.
You can often place the bone graft at the same time as the implant unless the bone loss is severe, in which case it might need to be done as a separate procedure. They use minimally invasive methods, including a gentle laser.
At Neesh Dental in Saskatoon, a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Our team of Saskatoon dentists and support staff try to always share interesting articles, dental facts and dental hygiene tips so you can take good care of your teeth. Contact us today to book a Saskatoon dental appointment.