Losing your primary teeth as a child is perfectly normal. But losing any of your permanent teeth is not. When you grow older and begin to lose your teeth, it’s hazardous to your overall health. Cheeks can sag, gums weaken, your appearance creates lack of confidence, and your remaining natural teeth are at risk.
Tooth loss can cause a variety of consequences, and most notably, your quality of life is reduced due to decreased chewing ability which limits your food choices. Poor nutrition results, damaging your general wellness.
Reasons For Losing Your Teeth
Old age isn’t always the reason for tooth loss. Additional causes for tooth loss include:
- Poor oral hygiene – This causes acid-producing bacteria to accumulate on the surface of your teeth which can lead to cavities by eroding tooth enamel. Periodontal (gum) disease can also result, damaging supporting tissues such as ligaments and bones. If left untreated, this can result in the loss of teeth.
- Avoiding biannual visits to your dentist – Professional dental cleanings are crucial to your oral health. Even if you maintain good dental hygiene, you still need to visit your dentist every six months. Any irregularities in dental checkups may have telltale signs of conditions that will result in tooth loss if left untreated.
- Neglected treatment of a decayed tooth – Not getting your compromised teeth filled will allow them to worsen over time. The inner tissue may get irritated, leading to a dying tooth and pus forming around the roots of the surrounding teeth. Your dentist may try to save the tooth, but oftentimes it’s too late.
- Poor diet – Lack of proper nutrients in the diet can contribute to a decrease in your mouth’s ability to fight off infection. Calcium is one of the most important minerals for strengthening the jawbone that supports the teeth. Decreased calcium in your diet is directly related to increased tooth loss. Additionally, diets with a heavy emphasis on sugars, acidic foods, and carbohydrates can damage your teeth and gums over time.
- Trauma – If you’ve ever had your teeth knocked out from a fall or some other unforeseen occurrence, chances are the trauma caused the root of the tooth to fracture, and this may develop an infection years later. This infection may cause the tooth to break down and fall out. Contact sports, accidents, and other physical activities are the main culprits of trauma to the teeth.
- Bruxism (tooth grinding) – This is a common behavior that involves excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Bruxism puts excess force on your jaw and teeth, ultimately causing bone loss. Once your teeth lose their supporting bone, they’re at greater risk of falling out.
- Malocclusions (improper positioning of the teeth) – Teeth that aren’t aligned properly are more susceptible to plaque buildup and decay. Teeth that can’t be cleaned completely due to misalignment will suffer and are more prone to gum problems and periodontitis (gum disease) which are the major causes of tooth loss.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol – According to research, smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers. Smoking and tobacco products, as well as an increase in alcohol intake, are major factors in developing gum disease, which is the main cause of losing your teeth. Smoking affects the blood supply to your gums and aggravates periodontal disease.
How to Enhance Your Dental Health
In order to avoid dental decay and possible tooth loss, here are simple tips to protect your teeth and gums to stop bone loss and prevent it from getting any worse:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, once in the morning and last thing at night, preferably with a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits comfortably in your mouth.
- Visit Dr. Ang for regular check-ups: You should visit Amherst Village Dental at least once every six months and make an appointment with one of our dental hygienists for extra cleaning if needed, at Dr. Ang’s request.
- Floss before brushing. Everyone should use floss or an interdental brush to clean between their teeth once a day. Interdental brushes are advised over floss if you have periodontitis as they do a better job of clearing food debris and plaque between the teeth.
- Spit, don’t rinse when brushing. We can make the mistake of rinsing our mouths after brushing, but unfortunately this washes out the protective fluoride left behind by brushing. The fluoride is needed to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the amount of acid that the bacteria on the teeth produce.
Caring for your teeth and avoiding tooth loss has never been more convenient. The main idea is to follow instructions set up by our Amherst, NH dentist and adhere to the above protocol as best you can. We encourage you to call us with any further questions you may have or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ang. Protecting your teeth and gums is our passion.