What Causes Tooth Loss and How Can You Prevent It?
When people think of tooth loss, the first thing that typically springs to mind is cavities.
Tooth decay, dental caries (the technical name for cavities), and tooth loss are definitely related. That said, there are around a half dozen primary causes of tooth loss—some of which are more age related and others are more lifestyle related. Tooth loss (i.e., edentulism) is a huge problem.
The American College of Prosthodontists found that about 36 million Americans have no teeth at all left and 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. Why is that? What are the primary causes? Is there anything that can be done about it? Can tooth implants help?
Improving Your Oral Hygiene
It turns out that many of the causes of tooth loss are controllable to some degree. There are steps you can take to control your oral health, increase lifestyle choices correlated with stronger teeth (e.g., diet), and reduce lifestyle choices that could lead to gum disease.
Because poor oral hygiene is related to both dental cavities and gum disease—and because oral hygiene can be improved by brushing and flossing daily as well as visiting a dentist regularly—you might well retain your permanent teeth longer by bolstering your oral hygiene.
Following these tips are empowering ways that you can take back control of your own oral hygiene, such as brushing after dinner and flossing daily.
Older adults might want to consider tooth implants and looking into the benefits of cosmetic dentistry.
Gingivitis and Tooth Loss
The reason that you should floss is that it can help reduce your chances of developing gingivitis and later stages of gum disease like periodontal disease.
This later stage is where your gums and jawbone can be compromised by bad bacteria and seriously damaged. Gum disease and tooth loss are, unfortunately, related. The takeaway? Take your oral health seriously!
Medical Conditions and Tooth Loss, Consider Tooth Implants
Medical conditions like high blood pressure (a.k.a., hypertension), diabetes, hormonal or immune system imbalances, and certain forms of arthritis have been associated with tooth loss. Older adults suffering from extensive tooth loss might want to consider tooth implants.
Trauma and Certain Lifestyle Choices
High-intensity contact sports or various kinds of accidents can cause tooth loss. This is an especially common route to tooth loss for children.
Older adults have to worry more about lifestyle choices like avoiding smoking or overindulgence in alcohol—as both have been associated with gum disease and premature tooth loss.
Red, bleeding, or tender gums, as well as gum recession, are signs of gum disease, which might be caused or accelerated by smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Tooth implants might be the answer at this stage. Talk to your prosthodontist and explore that possibility.
Diet and Your Oral Health
A poor diet has been associated with tooth loss and gum disease. On the flip side, a diet high in certain vitamins and nutrients has been associated with stronger teeth and healthier gums.
Teeth need two nutrients, in particular, to really thrive—calcium to support the underlying bone and support stronger teeth and Vitamin D for absorption.
Your body literally needs vitamin D to absorb calcium—the National Institute of Health says—and calcium is important for development and strengthening bones. Vitamin C is also great for gum health.
Conversely, diets that are too high in sugar and simple carbohydrates can negatively affect tooth health in two ways—foods high in sugar or simple carbohydrates can acidify our oral environment and lead to bacterial buildup.
For personalized and comfortable dental care see Dr. Stefan’s friendly team today!