What Are Some Facts About the Jawbone?


Quick Answer

The jawbone, or mandible, is the bone that forms the lower part of the skull, holds the lower set of teeth in place and, combined with the upper jaw, or maxilla, forms the mouth, according to Healthline. Because it holds teeth and is the only movable bone in the head, it is essential for mastication.

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Full Answer

Teeth are important to jawbone health for several reasons, explains the Center for Facial & Oral Surgery, P.A. Chewing or biting stimulate the jawbone in the same way that exercise helps maintain muscles. When there is a loss of teeth, the alveolar bone, which is the portion of the jawbone that holds the teeth in place, begins to break down due to lack of stimulation. Break-down of the alveolar bone causes deterioration of the jawbone.

Some of the potential consequences of jawbone loss are problems with remaining teeth, collapsed facial structure, limited lip support, skin wrinkling around the mouth, and distortion of other facial features, notes the Center for Facial and Oral Surgery. Other problems can include jaw pain and headaches, difficulty speaking and communicating, inadequate nutrition as a result of the inability to chew properly and painlessly, and expansion of the sinus. Some of the reasons for jawbone deterioration can be tooth extraction, periodontal disease, dentures and bridgework, trauma and misalignment of teeth.

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