Our Aging Mouths

Old Livonia MIAs we grow older, many of us will develop osteoporosis. This is a disease of the skeletal system that leads to weaker bones. While we typically think of this affecting hips and legs, it can also have a damaging impact on your oral health, as well. Your every day routine, as well as checkups and cleanings with your dentist, can do wonders in maintaining your smile.

That is why today, your Livonia, MI dentist imparts some knowledge on how aging affects bone and tooth density. And how best to prepare!

Will This Impact Me?

Osteoporosis is known as a silent disease, as it tends not to exhibit outward symptoms. Until there is a break, people are rarely aware of the density of their bones. It’s just not something that often shows itself.

But approximately 50% of women over age 50 in the United States will break a bone sometime due to osteoporosis. And the numbers aren’t much better for men, either, with around a quarter experiencing the same situation.

Because of this, osteoporosis tends to become deeply developed by the time the patient is fully aware. This leads us to the unfortunate situation of trying to play catch-up.

Prevention is always advisable. So if you are over age 50, and especially if you are an older woman, it is best to operate as if your bones have become significantly more brittle. The health habits are positive anyway!

How Does This Change My Mouth?

Due to the lowering of bone mass in osteoporosis, the mouth is significantly affected. Our teeth are held firmly into place using our jawbone. When bone mass shrinks or recedes, this allows the tooth to become loose, and often falls out. 

Even if the tooth remains in place, the pocket left due to the reduction can gather bacteria. This spot can be difficult to clean. It may be in an area that is hard to see or access. Or you might become worried about losing the tooth by touching it too much.

But leaving the tooth alone will only exacerbate the situation, and if you are that worried about your tooth, it is best to see a dentist about the best way to save it.

Also, patients may break their jaw due to the low density. Even small breaks along the jaw can loosen teeth, or lead to areas prone to decay.

Knowing this, it is important to treat yourself properly, as it can make all the difference as we age. The first thing to remember is to maintain a healthy diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables. The more diversity in your produce, the better for your oral health, usually. We depend on many different vitamins and nutrients in order to keep our mouths safe.

With this, we also want to make sure that we consume at least 1000 mg of calcium daily. If your diet cannot support this, you may need a supplement. But ideally, it would come from a food source. Also, 600 IU of Vitamin D is necessary to maintain strong skeletal matter. This can also come from a supplement.

And like with any other patient, brush your teeth fully twice every day, as well as flossing regularly and using an oral rinse. Smoking and alcohol consumption may also contribute to problems, so please quit!


James Stewart, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, MI, as well as Farmington Hills, Farmington, Plymouth, Northville, Novi, Dearborn Heights, Dearborn, Garden City, Westland, Redford, and the surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.