Think a baseball to the face is the only cause of tooth loss?
Tooth loss is unfortunately a common condition that affects over 35 million Americans and can have serious implications for a patient’s health and happiness. More importantly, few people recognize how many conditions and behaviors can lead to a missing tooth. Let’s explore some of the top causes of tooth loss in American adults.
It all starts with Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is perhaps the biggest indirect cause of tooth loss both in the US and around the world. In a study by the Delta Dental, 3 in 10 adults admitted that they were not brushing twice daily. In the same study, only four in 10 Americans dental floss once a day, with another 20% admitting they never floss. Given that oral hygiene is the first step in preventing the development of oral health condition, it’s no small wonder that this is a major contributor to tooth loss.
Cavities and Failed Root Canals
Although cavities can be prevented with regular oral hygiene, it doesn’t take much for bacteria to eat through dental enamel and start causing trouble. Proactive treatment such as fillings and to a greater extent root canal therapy can help patients keep their natural teeth in place. However, failed root canal therapy and multiple reinfections can ultimately cause a tooth to become loose or require extraction to protect the rest of the smile.
Like cavities, gum disease (periodontal disease) is easily avoided with regular professional teeth cleanings and a solid oral hygiene routine at home. However, certain factors like smoking, poor diet, and genetics can increase a patient’s risk of developing this condition. When left untreated, it doesn’t take long for the disease to progress from it’s initial stage of gingivitis to advanced periodontitis. In severe cases, bacteria destroy the connective tissue and bone structure that hold teeth in place, causing teeth to fall out.
More and more studies are highlighting the mutualistic relationship between oral and overall health. Just as a healthy mouth can improve an individual’s overall health, serious or chronic illness can devastate a smile. Diseases like diabetes, cancer, and arthritis can all lead to gum disease and indirectly cause tooth loss. Likewise, medications used to treat serious conditions such as radiation therapy for cancer or medicine for blood pressure can suppress saliva production and weaken your immune system, leaving your mouth vulnerable to bacterial infection and tooth loss.
Middle aged and senior patients aren’t the only ones at risk of tooth loss. While recent years have seen ia surge in eating disorder awareness, research suggests that an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men in the US will have experienced an eating disorder at some point in their lives.. Conditions such as bulimia and anorexia prevent the mouth from getting proper nutrients, leading to chronic dry mouth, which can increase the amount of disease-causing bacteria. Purging also exposes teeth to highly acidic stomach acid, which can quickly erode dental enamel and causes teeth to become brittle, translucent, and weak. These and other side effects of eating disorders can all contribute to tooth loss among patients suffering from an eating disorder.
Facing Tooth Loss? Protect Your Smile with Larson Dental
Missing teeth doesn’t just affect your oral health – it has a lasting impact on your self-confidence and overall health. If you’re at risk of losing a tooth or are already facing life with gaps in your smile, it’s time to schedule a consultation with your Prescott Valley dentists. Our team at Larson Dental is here to help you regain confidence and health in your smile. Call us today!