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3 Leading Causes of Tooth Loss

When someone points a camera at you and says “smile!”, most people are quick to comply.  For the thousands affected by tooth loss, however, it more often than not brings feelings of embarrassment or shame. You might be surprised to learn that, in most cases, tooth loss is almost always avoidable.

Don’t Let It Happen to You

Keep your smile in stellar shape by educating yourself about tooth loss. The following information can help you take charge of your oral health and protect your teeth against disease and injury.

1) Periodontal Disease

The primary cause of tooth loss in adults is periodontal, or gum disease, which affects approximately 70% of people over the age of 65.  This condition is an infection typically caused by poor oral hygiene. It begins with bacteria and inflammation in the gums that surround and support the teeth.  As gum disease progresses, it destroys the gums and eventually, it can destroy the jawbone underneath the gums, resulting in no support for the teeth and therefore loss of teeth.  

If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to the loss of one or all of your teeth.  Unfortunately, most people have already suffered irreparable damage by the time they seek treatment.  To avoid this largely preventable disease, be diligent about keeping your teeth and gums clean by brushing and flossing twice a day and be sure to have a dental checkup every six months.

2) Cavities

Cavities are painful areas of tooth decay caused by a bacterial infection in the tooth, often due to diet or lack of proper oral care.   It’s possible for the infection to reach and kill the soft material, or pulp, in the center of the tooth.  If this happens, the tooth will likely be destroyed and need to be extracted.  Cavities are fairly easy to spot, as they usually appear as dark or even black spots on the enamel of the tooth.  

When you first notice a cavity, even if it’s painless, don’t wait to seek treatment.  Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment.  Treatment for a cavity is usually simple and can save your tooth.  Prevent cavities by limiting sugary, acidic foods and beverages such as soda and hard candy.

3) Physical Injury or Trauma

If you or your kids have been involved in sports, you are likely no stranger to injuries.  Contact sports, falls, violence, and car accidents are the most common causes of trauma to the teeth and mouth.  Incisors are the teeth that are most at risk for injury if an accident occurs.Sometimes, the tooth might be knocked out completely, or it might be fractured below the gumline.  If a fracture of this nature occurs, a tooth extraction is often necessary.  To prevent tooth loss by way of physical trauma, be cautious and use a mouthguard or similar protection when engaging in any contact sport or any activity that poses a potential risk to your mouth and teeth.

Most Tooth Loss is Preventable.

Life is unpredictable and we can’t always know when injury or disease will strike.  However, from gum disease and cavities to sports injuries and car accidents, a large portion of tooth loss is preventable.  Use this guide to improve your oral care and the chances of keeping your smile healthy.

To learn more about preventing the loss of teeth and improving your oral health, Contact Us.