No one is surprised when children of a certain age lose teeth — their “baby teeth” are being replaced by new adult ones. But when an adult experiences tooth loss, not only do the teeth not grow back, but the missing teeth can cause many other complications in the mouth. Let’s look at 7 of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults.
1. Poor Dental Hygiene
Simply put, the fastest way to lose adult teeth is not to take care of them. Brushing infrequently, incorrectly or not at all; neglecting to floss; failing to get regular professional cleanings and checkups; all these factors can contribute to the development of periodontal disease — a disease of the gums caused by excess bacteria and plaque that eventually erode the teeth and bones of the jaw. Technically, periodontal disease is the top cause of tooth loss in adults, and poor dental hygiene is the top cause of periodontal disease. Take care of your teeth, and your chance of keeping those teeth raises exponentially.
2. Poor Nutrition
Did you know you could lose teeth as a result of not eating right? Diets rich in fruits and vegetables help strengthen all the systems in your body, including your oral health. On the other hand, diets specifically low in calcium can weaken bones over time, and eating too many acidic and sugary foods can leave residue on the teeth that can erode them.
Smoking can lead to all sorts of health problems (especially in the heart and lungs), but the chemicals in cigarette smoke also weaken your immune system and encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria leads to plaque, which leads to tartar build-up, which leads to periodontal disease.
4. Tooth Grinding
If you grind your teeth at night, the undue pressure placed on the jaw can chip away at teeth and weaken the bones that hold them in place in your mouth, eventually resulting in tooth loss. Have your dentist make you a mouthpiece/Niteguard to sleep in.
If you experience a fall, accident or blunt impact — especially one that impacts the face and jaw — the impact can dislodge teeth or cause them to break off.
6. Other Lost Teeth
Tooth loss begets more tooth loss. If you don’t replace lost teeth, the gap left behind can lead to a wide variety of other problems (e.g., bone loss, gum disease, undue pressure on other teeth), any or all of which can promote the loss of more teeth.
7. Other Diseases
Tooth loss in adults can sometimes happen as a secondary response to other health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.
While you may not be able to control some risk factors like trauma or other diseases, the key takeaway from this list is that the vast majority of tooth loss in adults is preventable. Quitting smoking, getting treatment for grinding teeth and maintaining proper oral hygiene can almost completely eliminate your risk for tooth loss — and replacing teeth you’ve already lost can keep you from losing more. To learn more about tooth loss in adults and how to replace them with dental implants, call Riverside Oral Facial Surgery at (706) 235-5570.