Tooth loss is devastating.
A gummy mouth affects the way you look and poses a challenge to your daily lifestyle. It can also affect a person emotionally by causing them to think less of themselves, diminish their self-confidence, and become less sociable or embarrassed about their missing teeth. Some people may experience withdrawal from family and friends, and society at large, which only serves to make a person’s quality of life even worse.
The good news is tooth loss can be prevented.
You don't have to allow missing teeth to cause you to miss out on all that life has to offer.
Following are 10 risk factors to avoid losing your teeth.
Flossing and regular visits to Willow Pass Dental Care for checkups are also highly recommended, but brushing is the foundation for an effective dental hygiene routine.
Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of a healthy dental hygiene routine. We have been taught, told, and exhorted to brush our teeth from the emergence of our very first tooth.
Recent headlines would suggest that sparkling water might not be such a great alternative to just plain old water. But is bubbly, carbonated water really that bad?
10 Risk Factors To Avoid Losing Your Teeth
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is the #1 cause of tooth loss in both children and adults between the ages of 18 and 65 years of age.
Those who do not brush twice per day with a fluoridated toothpaste, floss at least once per day and visit their dentist regularly have a significantly higher risk of developing oral infections and diseases. When left untreated or uncontained, oral diseases can progress to advanced periodontal disease and result in tooth loss.
2. No dental strategy
A critical part of a successful oral health strategy is to visit a dentist for an annual or bi-monthly dental checkup and professional cleaning. While many people opt to skip or delay this crucial component of good oral hygiene, that is often an expensive mistake.
Regular dental checkups are crucial to identifying potential dental issues before they culminate in irreversible tooth loss. Furthermore, professional cleanings can often remove tartar and hardened calculus that most people would not be able to eliminate on their own with household dental hygiene tools.
3. Diet high in sugar and carbohydrates
Dietary sugars are bad for your teeth. We all know this, yet statistics show many people continue to consume an inordinate amount of the sugar or sugar derivatives which can be found in everything from bread to meat marinades.
Avoiding excess sugar in today’s world can sometimes seem like an exercise in futility. Nonetheless, we advise patients to strive for diets low in refined sugars. That means avoiding candy, soda, and the hidden syrups found in everything from common condiments to store-bought bread. Sugar, as we know, is the single most important fuel source for a variety of enamel-destroying bacteria. Consuming sugar and other sugar derivatives will only encourage the development and growth of dangerous biofilm that can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums, and eventually, will result in permanent tooth loss.
Alternatives to Sugar
The presence of diabetes is directly linked to higher rates of periodontal disease. While what is ostensibly a disease that affects a person’s ability to produce insulin may not seem to have anything to do with your teeth, scientists and dentists have repeatedly found correlations between diabetes and higher risks of tooth loss.
Diabetes has been the subject of over 200 scientific studies over the past 50 years. One study found, that despite displaying a similar amount of biofilm, severely diabetic patients exhibit higher levels of gingival bleeding compared to mild diabetics and non-diabetics. Diabetics should be aware that their condition may make tooth loss more likely and consulting with your dentist is highly recommended.
5. Lack of fluoride
Fluoride plays a crucial role in dental health, particularly in the dental and oral health of children. Many consider fluoridation to be one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Despite a bizarre recent turn in public opinion against fluoridation, 70 years of fluoridation has proven the safety and benefits of fluoride.
Fluoride keeps teeth strong by remineralizing teeth that have been leached of their minerals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has credited the use of fluoride in the drastic reduction in cavities since the 1960s. However, fluoride isn’t only found in public water supplies. It is also used in toothpaste. As a family-centric dental clinic, Willow Pass Dental Care recommends using toothpaste that contain fluoride to help strengthen enamel and reduce the chances of losing teeth to decay or infection.
6. Poor diet
What you eat impacts not only your bodily health but your oral health as well. Important nutrients, such as calcium and potassium play a substantial role in the building up and fortification of your teeth. When those minerals are lacking, teeth often become weak and brittle, and vulnerable to attack from acids and acid-spewing bacteria. Of course, a balanced diet and the right nutrients are important to maintaining gum health, promoting blood flow to the mouth, and encouraging general oral health.
No matter how well you take care of your body, natural aging will become a bigger consideration in the care of your gums and teeth. As you age the enamel on your teeth will wear down making your teeth more vulnerable to infection and breakage. Older adults must also deal with higher rates of periodontal disease and other oral health conditions that progress over time. Many consider tooth loss to be a natural part of getting older. However, this needn’t always be the case. A healthy diet and good oral hygiene will go a long way towards preserving your teeth well into your golden years.
Gingivitis is an early condition of periodontal disease in which the gums become swollen and inflamed as a result of irritation caused by bacteria. Although gingivitis is readily treatable and reversible with timely treatment, it can also lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Once gingivitis progresses to advanced periodontal disease, the damaging effects may be irreversible and tooth loss may be inevitable. It's best to treat the gingivitis before it reaches advanced stages of periodontal disease.
9. Advanced Periodontitis
Advanced periodontal disease is very difficult to treat and is a lifelong condition that cannot be reversed as a result of permanent structural damage to the gums and underlying periodontium in which the teeth sit. In fact, patients diagnosed with advanced periodontal disease must visit a dentist regularly to receive scheduled “deep” cleanings that periodically clear out infectious materials. Patients diagnosed with advanced periodontal disease are almost always guaranteed to have already lost teeth or will soon lose teeth to the disease. While a diagnosis does not necessarily mean that all hope for retaining your natural teeth is gone, it does mean that the road ahead will be much more difficult and require extensive professional intervention.
10. Tobacco use
Smoking is an easily preventable and completely unnecessary risk factor for tooth loss. Yet, as any longtime smoker will tell you, smoking cessation can be extremely difficult due to the addictive nature of nicotine. The addictive nature of tobacco is what makes it so damaging to your teeth and mouth. Chronic smokers don’t just smoke once a while, they often smoke many cigarettes in a single session. Repeated exposure to the more than 7,000 chemicals, many of them known carcinogens, is bad for your teeth and gums. The substances found in a burning cigarette irritate gum tissues and the lining of your mouth exacerbating gum disease and even encouraging cancerous growths. Tar and other substances stain your teeth, gums, and tongue. Nicotine itself is a known carcinogen. Furthermore, smoking, or vaping leads to dry mouth, or xerostomia, which is linked to gum disease and tooth loss. Tobacco use is bad for your body as well as your mouth in a myriad of ways that bear no repeating. The truth is, tooth loss is but one devastating result of tobacco use amongst many others, including lung cancer, oral cancer, asthma, heart disease, and stroke.
Don’t Let Tooth Loss Take a Bite Out of Your Life
Don’t let tooth loss ruin your smile. Thousands of patients, both young and old, struggle with missing or damaged teeth. However, thanks to modern cosmetic dentistry, missing or damaged teeth can be easily and quickly repaired, replaced, and remedied. Contact Willow Pass Dental Care today for a free consultation with a qualified prosthodontist or experienced dentist.
DR. REZA KHAZAIE