Did you know that about 69 percent of adults in the United States have experienced tooth loss? That’s about 178 million men and women. If that seems like a staggering figure, consider this: about 40 million of those Americans, 15 percent of adults, have lost all their natural teeth. How does all this tooth loss happen? And how can you prevent it from happening to you? Let’s look at some major causes of tooth loss.
- Accidents are a common cause of tooth loss. A car accident or even falling off a bike can cause serious injury to the mouth, and this can lead to tooth loss. Bike accidents and motorcycle accidents can be especially hard on the face, so be careful on the road, and wear a helmet. Slip and fall accidents are another way that teeth are often lost.
- Playing sports can mean risking your teeth. Contact sports like football and hockey, along with combat sports like boxing and martial arts, put you at risk of losing your teeth. When you are playing one of these kinds of sports, wear protective gear, specifically a mouth guard.
- Some people lose teeth on the job. Some jobs, particularly industrial or construction jobs, can be dangerous. People often experience facial or head injuries from occupational accidents in these kinds of industries. Be cautious and wear protective gear when appropriate.
- Physically fighting can be a cause of tooth loss. If you are attacked or get into a fight, a punch to the face can lead to the loss of a tooth or, in some cases, multiple teeth.
- Oral trauma doesn’t have to be major, like a car accident or a punch in the face. It can be as simple as chewing ice, grinding your teeth, or using your teeth as tools. These things can all lead to tooth loss.
- Gum disease is the biggest cause of tooth loss. When plaque, tartar, and bacteria build up on your teeth and cause inflammation and infection below the gumline, it can lead to serious consequences, including bone loss. When the bone supporting your teeth is destroyed by gum disease (periodontal disease) your teeth can loosen and fall out. Periodontal disease affects nearly one in two adults over 30, and three in four over 65, but it is preventable. Brushing, flossing, and having regular dental cleanings can help prevent gum disease. If you do develop it, it is easy to treat in the early stages.
- Tooth decay can cause you to lose your teeth. Bacteria trapped by plaque can eat away at the tooth enamel and, if left untreated, this can cause you to lose your teeth. If you see a dentist when you have mild to moderate cavities, though, the problem may be able to be resolved with measures like fillings, this is one reason it’s so important to see your dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene. You can prevent many cavities by brushing and flossing, and those you cannot prevent can be treated in the early stages. If the dental decay results in a deep infection or bone loss, extraction may be necessary.
- Certain illnesses can cause tooth loss. Uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and bone disease can accelerate gum disease and lead to tooth loss. Staying on top of your overall health will also protect your oral health and help you keep your teeth.
- Lifestyle factors come into play with tooth loss. Smoking is a major contributing factor in tooth loss because smokers are three times likelier than non-smokers to develop gum disease. A poor diet can damage your mouth, too, so make sure you get enough calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin A to support healthy teeth and gums.
- Sometimes, tooth extraction is a necessity. If a tooth is injured, infected, or otherwise damaged, it may be necessary to remove it instead of trying to restore it.
Now that you know about all these tooth loss causes, you may be better able to make decisions that will help you keep your teeth. If you do find yourself in need of dental surgery, look for a surgical team with expertise, experience, and a sterling reputation. For over four decades, Atlanta Oral and Facial Surgery has provided a long list of oral and facial solutions to restore our patients’ smiles and improve their quality of life. The region’s premier choice for oral and maxillofacial surgery, we have an impeccable safety record and a team of highly trained, board-certified surgical professionals, committed to patient safety and surgical excellence. AOFS is the largest oral surgery practice in the United States, and we can manage a wide range of treatments that include the teeth, mouth, jaw, and other parts of the face. We are dedicated to helping patients achieve optimal health and wellness, and it is our ambition to provide our broad scope of surgical services to our community. Whether you need TMJ treatment, dental implants, removal of wisdom teeth, or another type of oral or facial surgery, we are here to guide you through all of your oral surgery needs. Call us for more information at 478-401-1527, or contact us through our website to schedule a consultation.