What Causes Tooth Loss?
We all know it’s normal for young children to lose their first set of teeth. Sometimes people even have an extra tooth or two to lose. But once the adult set of teeth are in place, losing any further teeth is never a good thing. Losing teeth can happen for a variety of reasons – some of which can point to a more serious issue. As always, for any situation where tooth loss or damage occurs, you should always consult your dentist.
Read below to better understand the causes of losing teeth
Traumatic injury is the most common reason for anybody to lose teeth. Sporting accidents (hockey anybody?), backyard shenanigans, regular every day accidents are all reasons people lose teeth every day. Not pleasant, but also not any kind of an indicator of more serious problems (except possibly clumsiness). A few reasons that don’t have to do with traumatic injury are:
- Gum Disease: This is number one cause of tooth loss among adults. Also known as periodontal disease, this is an infection in the structures that support the teeth so as Gum Disease progresses, your teeth become less and less solidly attached. Eventually, gum disease reaches the alveolar bone and your teeth will fall out or need to be extracted.
- Tooth Decay: If cavities or chipped / broken teeth are left untreated, tooth decay is the eventual result. Once tooth decay sets in, the tooth structure is damaged and can even spread as an infection to the supporting bone.
- Tooth Fracture: This is often caused by grinding the teeth at night while you are sleeping. It is also often caused by, for example, biting into something hard such as a steak bone. A crown can often fix this problem and keep it from getting worse but if the damage to the tooth is too severe, it may be need to be extracted. This will be determined by the extent of the fracture (a very deep crack, for example) as well as the location of the damage on the tooth. If the side or the base of the tooth is fractured, a crown may not be an acceptable remedy.
Symptoms and risk factors of tooth loss
- Poor oral hygiene is the most obvious. A person who doesn’t floss and brush on a regular basis is far more likely to encounter some kind of tooth loss in their lives than a person who takes good care of their teeth on a regular basis. Lack of adequate oral hygiene leads to plaque buildup, tartar buildup and various forms of bacteria that can promote tooth decay
- Missing dentist visits is another indicator of a person who may well experience tooth loss. The dentist will spot problem areas while they are still addressable and be able to recommend a course of action that will eliminate or reduce tooth loss. Missing these dental appointments is a sure fire way to miss out of the benefits of having a dentist identify and address problem areas while they can still be rectified.
- Smoking – well, smoking is never a good idea and just as it’s bad for your body, it’s also bad for your teeth and your mouth. Smokers have an increased likelihood of developing gum disease as well. Smokers, even more than anybody else, should adhere strictly to their dental appointments.
The single best way to prevent or minimize tooth loss is to see your dentist on a regular basis. During these visits, your dentist will be able to uncover potential problem areas and address them while they are still able to be taken care of or before they get worse. Visit your dentist and practice good oral hygiend. Oh, and stop smoking!