What Causes Bone Resorption in the Mouth?

Bone resorption is when the body essentially gets rid of bone. In the oral cavity, loss of bone, namely jawbone, can dramatically impact dental health. Symptoms of bone loss in the mouth can include loose or shifting teeth, a changing facial profile, and even jaw pain. What could cause bone resorption in the mouth? Here are the top causes of bone loss in the oral cavity and what you can do about it.

Loss of Natural Teeth

In the oral cavity, tooth roots continuously stimulate alveolar bone, which is the part of your jaw that supports your teeth and the connective tissue that helps anchor your teeth in place.

When a natural tooth is lost and not replaced, the body will eventually get rid of the bone where the tooth root was over time [1]. In addition, the lost tooth will cause a gap, and the neighboring teeth will shift to fill its place, which can cause a symptom of jawbone loss—shifting teeth.

Trauma or Injury to the Jaw

Any type of trauma or injury to the jaw has the potential to cause bone resorption in the mouth, sometimes months or even years after the original injury. Bone resorption can occur due to damaged teeth, such as those affected by severe tooth decay or those that have been loosened by an impact to the jaw, such as a sports injury or car accident. Children may be more at risk for bone resorption as the result of an injury due to the fact that their teeth and bones are still developing [2].

Gum Disease

Bone resorption in the mouth is common in patients with gum disease, or periodontal disease [3]. This is because gum disease impacts the ligaments that help hold the teeth in place. As gum disease progresses, it can eventually begin to deteriorate the alveolar bone surrounding the teeth and connective tissue, which can cause loose teeth and pockets of infection. If not treated, severe gum disease can eventually cause tooth loss.


Osteoporosis happens when the body’s natural process of replacing damaged bone tissue is disrupted, meaning new bone isn’t being generated enough to replace the old bone. Although osteoporosis may not initially cause symptoms and tends to affect the hips and spine more often, it has been linked to bone loss in the jaw and, as a result, tooth loss [4].

What Can You Do?

Restoring lost bone is possible, but the form of treatment you choose and its success will
depend on the cause of the lost bone. For example, if you have missing natural teeth, replacing them as soon as possible can prevent jawbone loss and help retain your teeth structure and facial profile.

Treating jaw injuries, gum disease, and osteoporosis can also help protect alveolar bone and keep your jawbone strong and healthy. Are you having symptoms of bone resorption in the mouth? If so, don’t wait to book an appointment with your dentist to determine what the underlying cause could be and how you can protect your bone—and your smile.

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15185985/
2. https://bmcoralhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12903-021-01510-6
3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/alveolar-bone-loss
4. https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/oral-health/oral-health-and-

What Causes Bone Resorption in the Mouth?
Article Name
What Causes Bone Resorption in the Mouth?
Symptoms of bone loss in the mouth can include loose or shifting teeth, a changing facial profile, and even jaw pain. What could cause bone resorption in the mouth?
Aldie Family & Cosmetic Dentistry