Baby teeth emerge starting at about 3-6 months, and by around three years old, we have a full set of baby teeth. But, we start losing baby teeth as early as five to make room for our adult teeth, and by the time we become adults, we have 32 permanent teeth.
Adult tooth loss occurs for a variety of reasons. In fact, adults between 20-64 have an average of 25.5 teeth. Fortunately, most tooth loss is preventable. Let’s examine the causes of tooth loss, the ways you can keep it from happening, and available treatment options.
Periodontitis, or gum disease, is by far the most common cause of tooth loss. This chronic inflammation of the gums harms and weakens the bones and tissue that teeth need to stay healthy. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Other common causes include dental caries (cavities), bruxism (teeth grinding), and oral injuries. Factors that increase the risk of tooth loss include poor dental hygiene, avoiding dental care, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, and being over 35.
Practice healthy dental hygiene. That means brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing, using mouthwash, eating balanced and nutritious meals, and reducing the amount of snacks you eat. Fluoridated water is essential to healthy teeth, and research shows that chewing gum with the sweetener xylitol can retard the bacterial growth that causes tooth decay.
Regular visits to our team can determine whether you’re at an increased risk of tooth loss and can grant you access to routine tooth cleaning services to reduce your chances. Also, avoiding smoking can reduce your risks and prevent other dental health problems. Using a mouthguard during sports activities can reduce tooth injury, and night guards can keep you from grinding your teeth as you sleep.
Gum disease can be treated with deep cleanings below the surface of your gums, medications placed under gums or taken orally, or through corrective surgery. We also offer periodontal disease therapy, root canals, fillings, bondings, sealants, and other methods to help protect your teeth and gums.
Avoiding tooth loss involves making choices to improve your dental hygiene and diet, along with regular visits to our office. Make an appointment with Dr. Anderson and Village Dental to have your teeth examined so we can help you avoid tooth loss.