What Leads to Tooth Loss and How to Prevent It
When a child shows off their loose tooth, their level of excitement is often shared by their parents. And when others see the gap in their tooth line, they sometimes feel a measure of nostalgia or adoration as the loss of their baby teeth is a healthy sign that they’re growing up. But when adults lose a tooth or two, it’s never celebrated because adult teeth are meant to be permanent and they generally have no natural replacement.
Nevertheless, many Americans end up losing at least some permanent teeth. According to epidemiological studies referenced by the American College of Prosthodontists, 178 million people living in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and about 40 million are missing all of their teeth. For individuals between 65 and 74 years of age, about 30 percent have no permanent teeth remaining. There are several things that any adult can do to reduce their risk of joining this category, but before we get into that, let’s discuss the main causes of tooth loss.
Bring on the Tooth Loss
Granted, several different contributing factors might be involved in why a person loses one tooth or more, but the most common causes fall into these categories:
- Gum Disease — Gum disease is also called periodontitis or periodontal disease. Poor nourishment, health, certain medications, or other issues impede the human body’s immune system, which allows bacteria to grow out of control in your mouth. As it does, it eats away at your gum tissue and even your teeth themselves, destroying both in the process. The bacteria can even remove bone in your jaw, leaving nothing to hold your teeth in place.
- Injury — Sometimes the unexpected and unfortunate happens. Whether from a sports accident, a stray plank of wood at a construction site, or a heated disagreement at some bar, there might come a time when you suffer a chipped, broken, or dislodged tooth. Without proper care, the tooth will likely be lost.
- Cavities — also called dental caries, cavities are holes in your tooth enamel allowing the inner portions of the tooth to be exposed. As time goes on, they grow larger. If the hold isn’t filled, it will eventually expose the nerve within the tooth, and sharp pain results.
Preventing Tooth Loss
Keeping your teeth as long as possible involves a regular, daily routine of preventative care and maintenance, including:
- Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day. This reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth, thereby reducing the level of damage they can accomplish.
- Floss regularly, at least once daily. Flossing gets in between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach, removing plaque and bacteria buildup. It also allows you maintain a healthy gumline.
- Using mouthwash assists in lowing the numbers of germs and bacteria in your mouth, helps to rinse away stragglers, and provides a fresh feeling to your mouth.
- Regular semiannual visits to the Placerville Dental Group allows for routing inspection of your tooth, gums and mouth, to make sure everything is healthy. If any issues are developing, we identify them and work with you to develop a plan of action.
Of course, there are other things you can do to avoid tooth loss, like drinking fluoridated water, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol, and keeping a healthy body and diet. Getting medical checkups keeps tabs on your health as well, especially if you have a condition like diabetes. Nevertheless, loyally following a routine of proper dental hygiene greatly reduces the risk of tooth loss.
For more information on the best ways to retain your teeth and prevent losing them in your circumstances, contact the Placerville Dental Group by giving us a call or setting up an appointment online. Our knowledge and experience is ready and waiting to help you maintain and retain all your adult teeth.