As you age, are you noticing a smaller jaw? Just as we can grow and get stronger, the opposite can occur for our jaw. Jaw shrinkage can either go unnoticed or cause complications such as:
• Tooth Overcrowding
• Gum Pain
• Change in Facial Structure
So what causes the jaw to become smaller? Here are 3 explanations:
1. Smaller Jaw with Age
Subtle jaw shrinkage is part of the aging process, according to a Swedish study. In this study, scientists took molds of students’ jaws in 1949 and again in 1989. When comparing the 2 molds, they found a noticeable change in the size during that 20-year span.
2. Tooth Loss and Smaller Jaws
Your lower jaw is U-shaped and has bony projections that support each tooth. If you lose a tooth, the jaw extension that supported that tooth will eventually shrink.
As estrogen levels decrease, bones become weaker, more brittle, and can resorb. As a result, women with osteoporosis have higher rates of tooth loss and can experience general lower bone density within the jaw.
While there’s nothing to prevent you from getting older (sorry!), there are actions you can take now to prevent tooth loss and osteoporosis. Check out the aging section of our blog for more resources.