Nowadays, our knowledge about tooth loss has improved enough to stop this phenomenon among adults. To find out what you can do to protect your teeth, we’ll debunk some common myths about tooth loss in adults.
Myth #1: Losing teeth is a natural part of ageing
Tooth loss is not natural among adults, and it is completely preventable. The number one cause of tooth loss is gum disease, which accounts for 70% of cases. You might be surprised how prevalent gum disease is, with 3 out of 4 adults affected to some degree. Many of them are not aware of it, because their condition may be mild enough that they ignore the symptoms.
Gum disease starts with gingivitis, when gums become swollen, irritated and prone to bleeding. As the condition becomes more severe, your gums will pull away from your teeth due to plaque build-up. When the roots of your teeth become exposed, your chance for decay and tooth sensitivity increase.
As gum disease progresses, it may cause damage to the jaw bone underneath your gums, cutting away support for your teeth, which results in tooth loss.
Tooth decay is another common culprit for tooth loss. If a cavity goes untreated for too long, it can damage deeper tissues in your tooth. Tooth removal may be necessary if the pulp has become infected or if an abscess has formed in the root of your tooth.
Sometimes accidents or injuries can cause tooth loss if the tooth becomes chipped or cracked. Car accidents, falls, and sports injuries are all common causes. To keep your teeth strong, don’t use them to complete tasks they are not intended for, like biting off tags, opening cans or bottles, and crunching on ice or popcorn kernels.
Myth #2: Lost teeth are lost forever
Tooth loss does not have to be permanent. Dental implants can help you regain confidence while protecting your teeth and gums. Spaces from missing teeth make it easy for bacteria to spread through your body, putting you at a higher risk for infection and chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
Nowadays, dental implants have a success rate of around 98%. This procedure is usually done by an oral surgeon or periodontal specialist. First, an artificial root will be implanted in your jaw at the sight of the missing tooth. After your gums heal, an artificial tooth will be screwed into the implant.
Myth #3: Tooth loss is caused by poor oral hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common reasons that adults develop gum disease. However, some people are more prone to periodontitis because of their genetics.
A strong link has been discovered between periodontal disease and chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Doctors are still not sure exactly how the two affect each other, but they have concluded that improving your oral health is an important step to protect yourself against serious illnesses that affect other parts of the body.
Smoking has a significant impact on the health of your gums. This includes all forms of tobacco use, even smokeless cigarettes. Your risk of periodontal disease may also increase with stress, sleep deficiency, and poor nutrition.
Limited access to affordable dental care is another major factor in tooth loss. It’s also part of the reason that many retired people and those living at lower socioeconomic levels are more affected by tooth loss and gum disease.
What You Can Do to Prevent Tooth Loss
There are many steps you can take to prevent tooth loss.
- Keep a routine of good dental hygiene. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. Don’t brush too vigorously, because this can damage your gums. Use toothpaste with fluoride to strengthen the enamel of your teeth.
- Floss daily. Many people skip this step, but flossing is perhaps the most important defence against gum disease.
- Protect your toothbrush against bacteria. Don’t share a toothbrush with someone else. Wash your toothbrush periodically in a dishwasher or stir it in a cup of mouthwash for 30 seconds. You can also soak the brush in vinegar overnight. Store your toothbrush upright so it can dry after use.
- Quit smoking. Smoking irritates your gums and compromises your immune system. Even smokeless tobacco has a significant impact on your gum’s health.
- Take care of yourself. Find positive ways to deal with your stress. Try to get a proper amount of sleep.
Keep a balanced diet. Make sure you are incorporating enough calcium and vitamin C into your diet. People with tooth loss often gravitate to softer foods that are high in carbohydrates because they are easier to consume. However, to keep healthy gums, you need to eat foods that are high in protein and fibre.