5 Key Ways To Maintain and Improve Jawbone Strength With Age
As a senior, what can I do to enhance my jaw strength?
As we age, we experience diminished jaw strength. Over time, our joints and the components that connect the jaw to the skull and promote optimal jaw function start to deteriorate. We lose muscle strength and have a higher risk of developing TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. However, there are things we can do to slow down that deterioration to help us enjoy a functional jaw.
When was the last time you turned to a friend at lunch and said, “It seems more things keep falling apart with every passing year.” Trust us—you’re not alone. The truth is that as we get older, our cartilage starts to wear down from years of use. As a result, our joints don’t slide as well as they used to, making us more susceptible to joint pain. Our joints get stiff, and we lose range of motion as our ligaments and tendons become more rigid. These factors coupled with dehydration can lead to osteoarthritis.
Maintaining our jaw strength and bone density is critical for our oral health. The fact is that our jawbone plays a critical role in our oral function, oral health, and facial aesthetics. But if we fail to take care of it, we can experience rapid premature tooth loss, periodontal disease, and more. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we can do to slow it down.
How To Improve Jaw Strength For Seniors
We’ve put together some helpful tips that seniors can use not only to protect their jaws but also their oral and overall health.
1. Eat raw fruits and vegetables.
Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables helps protect our muscle strength, which protects our jaws. The crunch of your favorite veggies gives your jaw a workout and makes it stronger. And eating those same fruits and vegetables provides your body with beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C. Plus, the food fibers help naturally sweep plaque and bacteria from your teeth between brushing and flossing.
2. Eat a healthy diet full of essential nutrients.
While eating those raw crunchy fruits and vegetables will benefit your body, you should also incorporate foods with other nutrients. A diet with the following nutrients will help improve and maintain your bone density:
- Calcium: Add calcium-rich foods to your diet, such as cheese, seeds, yogurt, sardines, beans, and leafy greens.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections, and reduce inflammation. Add salmon, cod liver oil, tuna fish, swordfish, eggs, or orange juice fortified with vitamin D to your diet. This all said, retirees enjoying the Florida sun should know that a bit of sunshine a day can naturally increase the amount of vitamin D in your body. So spray on some sunscreen and enjoy a healthy dose of the sun’s rays whenever possible.
- Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency can negatively affect bone strength, nerve function, and cartilage health. Add spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to your diet.
3. Work your facial muscles.
Certain facial exercises are good for your jaw strength. Try some tongue twisters, vowel exercises, neck curl-ups, and collarbone backups when watching television at the end of the day. These exercises will not only help your facial muscles but also give you a more defined jaw.
4. Seek treatment for TMJ disorder.
If TMJ disorder is causing you issues, talk to your doctor about specific treatment so you know what to do. Your dentist at Laurel Manor Dental can treat your TMJ disorder. But in the meantime, consider some TMJ exercises for a bit of relief. Give these two a try.
- Relaxed-jaw exercise: Sitting up straight and tall, let your tongue relax on the top of your mouth behind your upper front teeth. Let your teeth come apart while gently relaxing your jaw muscles.
- Chin tucks: Sit up tall with your shoulders back and chest up. Pull your chin straight back, creating a “double chin” effect. Hold this position for three seconds per rep and repeat a total of 10 times.
5. Ask us about dental implants for missing teeth.
Unfilled gaps left by missing teeth can weaken your jaw muscles and cause bone resorption. But if you replace those teeth early on, you will slow the progression. Dental implants are an increasingly popular tooth replacement option. When treatment is done, they’ll look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.
Visit Laurel Manor Dental and let us help you improve your jaw strength.
At Laurel Manor Dental, we want to be your dental home. One of our priorities is seniors’ bone health. So whether you need a professional dental cleaning, are experiencing jaw pain, or want to discuss tooth replacement options, we’re here for you. Request an appointment today.