Getting old is unavoidable. It is isn't always pretty and comes with its fair share of problems. Your mouth and oral health will be no exception. Over time, daily mouth activities such as chewing and cleaning cause your teeth to wear down...
When you think about losing teeth, an image of a child placing his pearly white tooth underneath his pillow and waiting for the Tooth Fairy might be the first thing that comes to mind. However, tooth loss can affect people at any age, but with older adults, the reasons that the teeth are lost tend to be different than those that affect children. By identifying some of the most common causes of tooth loss, you can take the steps to protect your teeth.
Gum disease is the most common reason for adult tooth loss. Gum (or periodontal) disease is an infection of the gums and the structures around them that are used to support the teeth. The early stage of the disease is known as gingivitis, and at this point, the damage could be repaired.
However, if left untreated, gingivitis will lead to periodontitis, and the disease can progress to the point that the teeth begin to fall out or are determined to be beyond repair and need to be extracted.
When living an active life, the chance of experiencing trauma to your mouth is a risk you take every day. Therefore, it is no surprise that trauma is one of the greatest causes for tooth loss in adults, and this trauma can occur in a variety of ways. You could be involved in a car crash or injure your mouth in a sport or biking accident. The loss of a tooth may result immediately, or in other cases, the trauma might affect your teeth in a way that doesn't manifest until time goes by and an infection develops.
It is actually not uncommon for adults to experience congenital absences when it comes to their teeth. This means that while the baby tooth is present, there isn't a permanent tooth to replace it. This often becomes apparent when the primary tooth falls out, but in other cases, the baby tooth might stay in place until it begins to fail as a result of lost nerve support. At that point, the tooth should be removed, and your dentist can determine if placing an implant is a good alternative.
Cavities can also lead to tooth loss, and this decay is generally the result of poor oral hygiene and other habits. If you fail to floss and brush each day as recommended, cavities and gum disease can occur, potentially setting your teeth up for future tooth loss. It is recommended that you floss at least once per day and brush twice, and you should be sure to visit our office every six months to ensure that your teeth are in optimal health.
Likewise, some of your habits may be attributing to your future tooth loss. Chewing tobacco and smoking can aggravate gum disease, delay the healing process, and eventually lead to tooth loss. Bruxism, or tooth grinding, is also a major problem, as years of grinding can cause tooth fractures and eventual shortening of the teeth.
If you aren't getting certain important nutrients in your diet, you can reduce your mouth's ability to resist infection. Specifically, calcium is important for supporting mineral density of the jawbone. If you don't have enough calcium, you'll reduce tooth retention, and you could experience tooth loss. Additionally, a diet that is high in acids, carbs, and sugar can also cause tooth and gum damage.
If you are concerned about the health of your teeth and the possibility for tooth loss, or if you are just in need of a check up, please call us to schedule your appointment today.
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