Losing baby teeth is a milestone for any child but the celebration stops as soon as those adult teeth come in. Adult tooth loss can occur for a number of reasons but, fortunately, with a proactive outlook on your dental health, many of these causes can be successfully prevented.
Tooth Loss Causes
1. Gum disease: Also known as periodontisis, gum disease attacks the teeth’s support system, weakening the soft tissue through infection. If the disease is allowed to progress, the infection will eventually spread to the alveolar bone, causing the loosening of the the teeth and eventual loss.
2. Cavities: Tooth decay is another large contributor to tooth loss. Without removal, the decay can spread and cause infection within the tooth and in the supporting structures. The inevitable result is often required tooth extraction.
3. Tooth fractures: Fractures can occur for several reasons but often are due to biting on hard items or teeth grinding (bruxism). Whatever the cause, fracture damage cannot always be repaired with a crown, particularly if the damage is significant. In these cases, extractions are almost always required.
4. Tooth injuries: Sports and activities are a fun, essential part of life but can sometimes cause damage to your teeth if the proper precautions are not taken. Tooth injuries can range in severity but, all too often, involve either outright tooth loss or irrevocable damage to the roots and/or the pulp which contains the nerves. In either case, the loss of the tooth is likely. Fortunately, mouth guards are readily available to sports enthusiasts and can go a long way toward preventing injuries such as these.
5. Vitality: In order to be considered vital, a tooth must possess a healthy pulp. Without it, the only means of saving the tooth and preventing loss is a root canal.
Preventing Tooth Loss
1. Be diligent about oral hygiene. Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day are crucial to keeping away plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease and tooth decay.
2. Keep your regular dental appointments. Make sure that you go to your dentist biannually for your routine dental examination and cleaning. This visit will allow your dentist to both remove any tartar and plaque as well as examine your mouth for any current or potential problems. Catching gum disease and other conditions early will help your dentist to quickly and effectively provide you with the treatments you need to protect your teeth.
3. Be aware of any pre-existing health conditions. Some conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and rheumatoid arthritis can increase your risk of gum disease. Keep your dentist informed so that he or she can provide you with the advice and/or extra visits necessary to ensure that the proper preventative care is received.
4. Stop smoking. Tobacco use has been shown to increase a patient’s risk of gum disease and eventual tooth loss.
If you ever have any questions or concerns about your dental health, don’t delay; give your dentist a call today!