Jaw bone loss, and facial bone loss in general, are some of the most prominent signs of an aging face. Still, far too many aren’t aware of it.
In this post, I’ll explain how facial bones change as you age. And how to slow down the degrading process in order to look younger for longer.
This is what I’ll cover. And as always you can jump to any section by clicking the headlines below:
- What does facial bone loss mean?
- How to prevent facial bone loss in general
- How to prevent jaw bone loss
- Facial bone loss treatment
What does facial bone loss mean?
Facial bone loss is a slow and steady process where your facial bones lose density. It can start as early as when you’re 27. And is usually more pronounced after your 50s.
Maintenance of bone structure, which is a dynamic process, depends on specialized cells called osteoblast and osteoclasts. The osteoblasts build new bone mass, while the osteoclasts break it down. And as you age (and with bad lifestyle habits), the breakdown will become more prominent.
Many people are not aware of the fact that osteoporosis is not only affecting the skeleton in their body, but also the facial bones. And that maintaining facial bone density is crucial for the appearance and to prevent sagginess of the soft tissue (such as the skin).
Losing facial bone mass has many impacts on your appearance. For example, it causes the eye sockets to deepen, which in turn leads to hollow eyes and flattered cheeks. It will also cause a degradation of the central face and jawbone. Leading to a reduced scaffold for the skin, and therefore contributing to saggy skin as a result.
A certain part of the face, the jaw, can be affected by other factors too. Jaw bone loss can actually, besides the general osteoporosis, be caused by dental issues. Such as tooth loss and gum disease (particularly periodontitis). Which with time will lead to an increased wrinkle formation around your mouth and jaw area.
Even though bone loss affects all of us with time, there are large variations among individuals. And there are many things you can do to either slow down or speed up the process. The next sections will explain how to prevent and treat facial bone loss caused by either osteoporosis or dental issues.
How to prevent facial bone loss in general
So, let’s talk about how to preserve your facial skeletal for as long as possible. Read this section carefully, since these actions are some of the most important things you can do to prevent facial aging and preserve a youthful face.
The earlier you start the better (of course). But it’s never too late to start slowing down the facial bone loss.
If that is a habit of yours. Since smoking reduces bone mass in several ways. Smoking cigarettes will inhibit the bone-building hormone called calcitonin, and instead, increase levels of the bone-degrading hormone cortisol. Smoking also kills osteoblast (cells that build bones) and decreases blood supply.
Even secondhand smoking is affecting your bones negatively. And besides affecting your bones, cigarette smoke is also one of the biggest collagen killers (this post explains more). So simply stay away from cigarettes as much as you can if you want to preserve youth.
Limit excess alcohol intake
Too much alcohol will interfere with your calcium balance as well as have negative effects on your vitamin D metabolism.
Also, too much drinking will cause hormone imbalances that causes bone loss and negative skeletal changes.
Make sure to get enough calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K2 in your diet
These are all super important vitamins and minerals for healthy bone regulation.
Most people are not aware of how important vitamin K2 is for the bones, and many would need a supplement since this vitamin can be hard to find in the diet.
I personally take this supplement to make sure I get the vitamin K2 I need. I also supplement with vitamin D during the winter months. The link goes to Iherb (with worldwide shipping) and gives you 10 % off.
Eat enough calories
Eat enough foods to get the calorie intake you need. Starving yourself will sadly lead to bone breakdown.
Tip: See my post about foods that help tighten the skin to learn how to eat daily for younger-looking skin.
Eat more carotenoid-rich foods
As explain in my post about carotenoids, these super antioxidants are great for the skin. But that is not all.
Several studies are also showing that higher serum concentrations of carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of osteoporosis. And that individuals who eat more carotenoid-rich foods have a much lower risk of hip fractures.
Make sure to eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables every day. And see my post about carotenoids to learn more details about where to find them and how to eat them.
Avoid excess intake of pure vitamin A
When vitamin A is stored in the body in larger quantities, the risk of osteoporosis increases. Be careful with supplements containing pure vitamin A, as well as animal products (especially liver).
The pro-vitamin A forms such as for example beta-carotene are safe options. Since the body will only convert the amount it needs.
Use your facial muscles often
Chew and laugh a lot. I personally like to use microcurrent too, which I’ll come back to a bit further down.
Muscle training increases circulation and provides fresh oxygen and nutrients to the muscles as well as the bones.
Another possible way to prevent facial bone loss might be to use red light therapy. I mention this in my post about red therapy at home. But I want to emphasize that a lot more research is needed on that topic.
How to prevent jaw bone loss
The jawbone is the largest and strongest bone in your facial skeleton. It is also the only moveable part of the skull. And it can be affected by more than just the general osteoporosis that occurs.
Here are the things you need to be aware of in order to counteract any unnecessary bone loss in the jaw.
Chew and bite a lot
When you chew and bite you exert a force through your teeth into your jawbone. Which in turn signals to the osteoblasts to keep the bone strong.
A hard diet has a lot better impact on bone formation than soft foods. And the hardness of the food is actually correlated with the jaw structure.
Be careful about your oral health
Gum diseases, and especially periodontitis, will contribute to bone loss of the jaw. Don’t skip flossing. Clean your teeth as well as you possibly can. And follow the instructions you get from your dentist and/or dentist hygienist.
Periodontitis affects the gums and the bones and will eventually also lead to tooth loss. Which in turn will contribute even more to jaw bone loss.
Avoid tooth loss
If you are missing one or several teeth (either due to extraction, gum disease, or injury) the jawbone in that area stops receiving stimuli. Which makes the osteoblasts stop prioritizing bone rebuilding in that area. Leading to a breakdown of the bone with time.
Also, wearing dentures may increase the speed of jaw bone loss. So dental implants are a better option. Often in combination with bone grafting. Talk to your dentist about the best option for saving your jawbone.
Also, just like tooth loss can shrink your bones. The opposite is true as well. People with osteoporosis are three times more likely to suffer from tooth loss.
Eat enough vitamin C
A deficiency of vitamin C can cause gingivitis and bleeding gums. So definitely make sure to eat enough fruits and vegetables. See my post about vitamin C to learn more about this super important vitamin.
Take control over your blood sugar
High blood sugar is a huge risk factor for periodontitis. And one in three people with diabetes experience this gum disease at some point.
Make sure to exercise, and seek professional help with your diet.
Facial bone loss treatment
Unfortunately, there is no proven treatment for recreating facial bone that is already lost. An exception is bone grafting to the jaw bone if you’ve experienced tooth loss. Talk to your dentist for proper evaluation of your jaw.
It is also possible that more treatment options will be available in the future. So the best advice I can give is to be as preventative as possible. No matter what age you are. Take care of your bones and keep them as strong as you possibly can (with the steps described above) in order to stop further breakdown.
With that said, there are a few studies indicating that microcurrent has some interesting effects on our bones. Such as improving fracture healing by stimulating the osteoblasts (the cells that rebuild bones).
Now, making the conclusion that microcurrent might help rebuild bone mass in the face is of course a bit too optimistic. But nevertheless, it for sure seems to have a positive effect by stimulating bone regeneration.
More research is indeed needed. But since I am already in love with microcurrent when it comes to muscle and skin improvement, I find it a bonus to know it also helps keep my bones strong.
I have a seperate post about microcurrent and the devices I personally use if you want to learn more.
- Jaw bone loss, and facial bone loss in general, have significant impacts on how your face will look. When you lose facial skeleton mass your skin will become more loose and saggy as a result. And make you look a lot older.
- Your facial bone loss is dependant on age but even more so on your lifestyle factors.
- Make sure to never smoke. Limit your alcohol intake. Eat plenty of carotenoids. Make sure to get enough vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K. And never starve yourself since that will increase the breakdown of your bones.
- Also, be aware that neglecting your oral health can lead to jaw bone loss. Tooth loss and gum diseases will cause a rapid breakdown of this large facial bone. And have a tremendous impact on your skin in your lower face.
- Chewing and biting on hard foods will help strengthen your jawbone. And using your facial muscles overall will also help with oxygen- and nutrition supply to the bones. Keeping them healthier.
- Some studies indicate that microcurrent might be helpful with bone formation. I personally use and recommend this technology for the skin in general. And if it can possibly help with keeping the bones stronger, that is a huge bonus.
I have a seperate blog post about microcurrent if you want to learn more. You find it here.
Hope you found this helpful! And I hope you feel inspired to start taking care of your bones! The earlier you start, the more grateful you will be in the future.
Also, for anyone interested in knowing exactly the status of their bones, a bone density scan such as DEXA-scan or computed tomography scans can be performed.
If you are new to my blog and want to learn more about saggy skin concerns, I highly recommend this post. And if you are more interested in general wrinkles, I suggest my post about how to prevent wrinkles.
Let me know in the comment below if you have any questions or anything else you want to share about jaw bone loss or general loss of facial bones.
Until next time, love your skin!