5 Reasons Why Your Jaw May Be Shrinking

Do you feel that your jaw has changed or your teeth are more crowded? A shrinking jaw is more common than you think and can be due to a number of causes. Let’s dive in to the reasons why your jaw may be shrinking.

Causes Of The “Jaws Epidemic”Young woman twisted her face and holds her hand on the jaw

There are significant differences between the jaws of today’s adults as distinguished from those thousands of years ago. Even humans who lived just a century and half ago show a marked difference.

There was little tooth crowding, impaction of wisdom teeth, or malocclusion, which is the abnormal position of upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed.

Researchers don’t believe this is due entirely to genetics but from environmental factors like dietary choices, cultural norms, and lifestyle choices.

Losing Teeth

When we replace lost teeth with dentures, we begin a continuum of loss to our jaw bone. When the tooth roots are missing, the jaw bone begins to shrink or resorb. There is a lack of stimulation to the jaw bone causing shrinkage. Most denture wearers will attest to the fact that their dentures do not fit as well as time passes.

Many wearers lose their ability to enjoy and chew food. In fact, the ability to chew food is severely compromised. Someone with natural teeth will bite down with 250 pounds, whereas those with dentures bite with 5 to 6 pounds.

Today’s dental implants can recreate tooth roots which prevent any further progression in jaw shrinkage.

Bad Oral Posture

The bones in our jaw grow and develop due to gentle but consistent pressures. The proper development of the jaw is dependent on the position of the jaw and tongue in children when they are not eating or speaking. Parents can start early to prevent mouth breathers.

This position is especially important during sleep when swallowing maintains this gentle pressure. Today we seek out soft pillows and mattresses whereas our ancestors slept on the hard ground. So, our mouths are prone to fall open during sleep interfering with proper positioning and swallowing.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the result. OSA can lead to any number of physical issues including sleep deprivation, stress, higher risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Talk with East Village Dental Arts in New York, NY about how you might overcome these issues.


As we get older, many things change including our bones. Our jaw bone is among those which can change with time and shrink, especially without good oral care.


More women than men suffer with osteoporosis and therefore are more susceptible to losing teeth. Their bones become more brittle with the loss of estrogen including lower bone density in the jaw.

Contact East Village Dental Arts at (212) 979-6300 if you feel like your jaw has changed or your teeth are more crowded, especially if you have been wearing dentures.

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