About 32% of people say they’re “concerned by the look of their teeth,” but not many people think about jaw health as often as they think about dental health. The truth is, jaw health is an essential component of overall oral health. If you don’t know how to properly care for your jaw as you age, you could be putting yourself at risk for developing a number of jaw-related conditions.
These conditions all have one thing in common: they cause a lot of pain. In time, neglected jaw issues, such as a misaligned bite, can lead to problems breathing, chewing, and speaking. Here are some of the top ways you can protect your jaw health over time.
Avoiding Teeth Grinding
Many people grind their teeth when they are stressed. Unfortunately, you might not realize you have a tooth grinding problem until you start suffering from jaw pain, headaches, and tooth damage. That’s because countless people do most of their tooth grinding in their sleep. Usually, your dentist will identify signs of tooth grinding. If you grind your teeth, it’s important to take proactive steps to correct this compulsive behavior. Talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about your options, which may include the use of Botox to stop the grinding, as well as treat chronic headaches.
Prioritize Bone Health
Everybody knows that calcium is vital to dental health, but few people know it also helps strengthen your jaw. This is particularly important because of the increased risk of osteoporosis that comes with age. It’s normal for bone tissue growth to slow down with age, leading to a lack of bone density. This can contribute to loss of teeth or inability to have replacement of teeth with dental implants. In addition to incorporating more calcium-rich foods into your diet, you should also take a daily calcium supplement. Talk to your dentist prior to starting any prescription “bone-density medications.” These could actually have a detrimental effect on your jaw.
Don’t Neglect Regular Dental Care
In addition to practicing these jaw-healthy habits, it’s important not to let general dental health fall by the wayside. For every individual with medical insurance, there are an estimated 2.8 individuals without dental insurance. If you don’t currently have dental insurance, many doctors offer plans that make routine dental care more affordable. At these appointments, you will receive a professional cleaning and X-rays to evaluate mouth and jaw health. If you’re having serious ongoing problems or pain, your general dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon for an evaluation.
Ultimately, understanding these strategies can help promote ongoing jaw health as you age. Genetics and oral hygiene are both important factors in the health of our teeth, gums, and jaws over the course of your life. While good daily oral care and regular exams and cleanings by your general dentist are the most important preventative steps, it’s common to see an oral surgeon for further care. Oral surgeons specialize in a variety of treatment techniques to make sure you and your jaw are healthy and pain-free.
Looking for more information about oral surgery, tooth replacement, and other facial rejuvenation tips in Waco, Texas? Then contact Waco Surgical Arts for a consultation.