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Tooth loss is becoming more and more common in America. According to the People’s Olive Branch, 26% of adults aged 65 years and above have lost 8 or more teeth. The rise is more prevalent in adults from low-income homes, those with an education lower than a high school level and in those with recurrent smoking habits. According to the American Association of Prosthodontics, the number of Americans missing one or more teeth is as high as 178 million.
With this rise in tooth loss, there has been a concurrent rise in the use of dental implants. Dental implants are metal posts that are used to replace the root portion of a missing tooth. The effectiveness of dental implants has seen an increase with over 5% of dental patients seeking implants.
In addition, periodontitis has increased over the years with an estimated 42% of US adults over the age of 30 having periodontitis involving one or more teeth.
Tooth loss, implants and periodontal disease are but the results of a myriad of factors. Below we seek to explore what causes tooth loss, the link with periodontal disease and how an implant might be the best fix for the problem.
Cause of Tooth Loss Explained
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene encompasses not brushing the teeth, not flossing enough and neglecting dental visits, diagnosis and treatments. The oral cavity is full of all types of good and bad bacteria. Brushing the teeth regularly, and properly, helps reduce the reproduction of bad bacteria that causes poor oral health.
When brushing your teeth is not adequate, buildup of plaque begins to form what we call a “nidus” or a hiding place for bacteria. The bacteria may multiply and invade the core of the tooth enamel causing dental caries. It may also infiltrate the gum causing periodontal disease. If left untreated, progressive weakening of the root and gum will cause teeth to loosen and eventually break or fall off.
Trauma is one of the more common causes of tooth loss. Trauma can take many forms, from accidents to intentional violence. In any case, a direct hit or injury to the maxilla and mandible can result in tooth loss.
In such a scenario, the issue is of importance. In many cases, this could fall under emergency dental treatment, depending on the severity. If it is a cracked tooth that doesn’t expose the root of the enamel, the issue will be less severe. However, if the root is exposed, the pain and exposed cavity will quickly make a bad scenario worse.
3. Poor Eating Habits
Poor eating habits are the continuous ingestion of high sugar, high acid foods without subsequently brushing of teeth. A little sugar here and there is not harmful to the teeth. In large amounts, however, sugar and its acidic residues are a great source of nutrition for harmful oral bacteria. If left unchecked, this will lead to the development of dental caries and cavities.
Cavities may progress over time to cause tooth loss. A great way to mitigate this, is to opt for healthier versions of snacks, always choosing those with the lowest sugar level.
4. Harmful Lifestyle Practices
Under this, we will discuss the role of cigarette smoking, teeth grinding and comorbid conditions such as diabetes. Cigarate smoking is top on the list of causes of periodontal disease and may worsen the symptoms of bleeding gums by masking them.
Teeth grinding, while being unintentional in some cases, eventually wears down the teeth stumps, loosening the teeth and may result in complete tooth loss.
Comorbid conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure have also been shown to have an influence on oral hygiene and the eventuality of tooth loss.
All Is Not Lost Howver, Here’s Why;
- Brushing Regularly, properly and at least twice per day
- Flossing every day
- Regular dental exams and cleaning
- Reducing the intake of sugary and acidic drinks
- Controlling nighttime teeth grinding
- Wearing mouthguards during sports and other high intensity activities
Are all fool-proof ways to prevent and reduce the risk of tooth loss and periodontal disease.
The Role of the Dentist
There is only one solution to the problem of tooth loss and that is replacement. The role of dental replacement is to restore function and maintain aesthetic. There are different types of dental implants ranging from dentures to bridges and implants.
Dentures are the cheapest option but may be uncomfortable because they are not fixed and may alter the taste and sensory experience while eating.
Dental implants are the best option because they are fixed to the root and are stable without altering appearance. There are options to have a single implant or a full set of implants each with its own benefits.
If you are looking to restore your smile, do not shy away from booking your consultation today with your local dentist.