Q. Is it true that adult palate narrow with age?

Answered by
Dr. Tooba Qazi
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
Published on Mar 28, 2019

Hi doctor,

Can the adult palate narrow or change shape due to age or stress or hormonal factors?

Dr. Tooba Qazi

Dentistry
#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Yes, definitely. Age changes occur in all our body, including our bone shape and density changes. The bone depth and density decrease with age in our jaws, causing gaps in our teeth, exposing more of our root part of teeth sometimes and it includes narrowing of the palate too. This is troublesome for patients wearing dentures as denture size alters by deepening of the palate. Stay happy and blessed. Take care.

Thank you doctor,

I am 30 but I believe a period of stress and low hormones has narrowed my palate and bone density of the jaw. I think this has impacted on my airway space. As the palate narrows and jaw loses density is it possible that the uvula can move downwards in the mouth and the tough back? Is there anything that can be done? My teeth have no developed gaps or fallen out.

Dr. Tooba Qazi

Dentistry
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Yes, air passage may get affected too but very rarely. Tell me are you a mouth breather? Have you got your calcium or vitamin D level tests recently?

Thank you doctor,

I am finding it harder to breathe through the nose. My vitamin D is low, calcium is fine. Is there a way to check the air passage size? And can the uvula move down? It is long to start with but I think it has come down.

Dr. Tooba Qazi

Dentistry
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It might feel like it is coming down, but it does not happen this easily. Regarding age changes, such things start happening after 40s or 50s. You are too young to experience such issues. As I suspected, it is happening due to hormonal level changes and mouth breathing habit.

Try to consult ENT who can eventually treat your nasal passage obstruction. This will automatically fix your mouthbreathing habit and as it will be fixed then you will be feeling easy with uvula and oral environment too. As it all dries up due to sinus and breathing issues. Meanwhile, try to bring up your vitamin D till 35 or 40 and try to maintain it. Most probably in six months, you will start feeling better. As there comes ease after every difficulty. And above all try to stay happy. That is the best therapy for all issues.

Thank you doctor,

One last query, if a palate narrows in an adult, can this cause the nasal passageway to narrow at the same time? My estrogen is low at the moment and I am underweight so my bones are not as strong as they were. This has been ongoing for six weeks, I am still having my monthly cycle but am having symptoms of low estrogen.

Just to check, the uvula cannot move down in the mouth even if the palate narrows? And a narrowing palate in an adult usually does not cause less airway space?

Dr. Tooba Qazi

Dentistry
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Let me tell you a bit of anatomy of uvula that it is a fibrous tissue in the soft palate at the end of the hard palate. So basically if narrowing of palate occurs naturally with age, it is so slow like maybe 0.2 or 0.5 mm in years that is not even noticeable and uvula almost remains intact as it is more of a muscular tissue that is attached with the palate. So it is less likely to cause airway problems suddenly.

But in some cases, it is due to major systemic changes in the body that palate deepens and in return uvula gets a little down and start causing airway obstructions. Like patients with liver diseases, blood diseases have this issue.

Your history is a mild one, not severe, if you are having any medical issues try sorting them out, take an opinion of ENT doctor and he will guide you better about it and once obstructions are cleared your palate will be doing fine too. If there is a drastic lowering down of palate like 2 or 3 mm bone goes deep and muscular tissues get to loosen up. Then uvula gets changed otherwise it remains intact mostly. Hopefully, you would have got a better idea of it now. Take care and let me know after a week what are you up to and what ENT specialist suggests.

Thank you doctor,

What would cause a sudden lowering of the palate? And would I notice it if it had happened? I think I will visit a dentist for them to examine it. My uvula looks fine but when I close my mouth I seem to have less airway space.

Dr. Tooba Qazi

Dentistry
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Few causes that we dentists examine for palatal bone loss are due to some periodontal disease of gums and bones in which the bacteria eat up the entire alveolar or jaw bones, moreover, it could be due to missing teeth that are not replaced timely causing supra-eruption of other teeth. You can say bite malalignment causes these losses in palatal bone. But again, the change is not drastic, it is a gradual change which you cannot notice easily. It can happen due to your genetic factor as well.

Sudden changes occur very rarely in systemic diseases like any liver disease or due to diabetes, etc. Now to tell you exactly what is causing your uvula going slightly down I need your history. Do you have any missing tooth? Have you any gum issues? Are your teeth well-aligned? Have you ever gone for orthodontic treatment? If there is no such issue ever faced by you then the probable cause would be any systemic one. It would be great if you can send me a picture of your teeth and palate and uvula.

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