Did you know that globally roughly 30 percent of adults age 55 and older have no remaining teeth? In the United States that numbers closer to ten percent, but that’s still a lot of people. Think about it – one in ten people you may know over the age of 55 are sporting full dentures!
There are a lot of reasons why we lose teeth, but there’s one thing definitely for sure: it happens a lot. We’ve noticed a few common reasons for tooth loss at our Panama City dentist office, and those seem to hold true around the world. That doesn’t mean you have to surrender yourself to tooth loss, though. It can be easy to prevent if you know what could happen!
Traumatic Injuries: They Claim Teeth
Sports, a fight, a slip-and-fall, an accident – these are all common ways to lose teeth to injury. It’s estimated that around 600,000 sports-related dental injuries come through emergency rooms every year, and guess what the common factor in all of them is? They weren’t wearing a proper mouthguard!
It’s hard to protect your teeth from an accident, but you can protect them from sports injuries with the custom athletic mouthguards we offer at Panama City Smiles. An additional 300,000 sports injuries are prevented every year because of proper oral protection, so make sure you find yourself in that third of the number, not the other group!
Tooth Decay Rots Away Smiles
Most cavities will never be dangerous enough to cause tooth loss, but it does happen, and it happens more than you think. Cavities are the second most common way to lose teeth, and there’s only one reason why they do: neglecting the health of your teeth.
Cavities start simple and small, usually as a white or brown spot on the surface of a tooth. Over the course of a long period of time they wear away more and more of a tooth and end up digging their way inside. For a cavity to truly cause the loss of a tooth one of two things has to happen: either decay eats away too much of the tooth or the root becomes severely infected.
The far most common problem is root infection, and most of the time we can prevent loss or extraction by performing a root canal. There are other cases, however, in which saving the tooth is simply not possible. Whether caused by a severe infection or excess decay that’s destabilize the tooth those kinds of cavities usually end up leading to extraction.
Gum Disease: Tooth Loss Cause #1
Injury and tooth decay don’t have anything on gum disease: it’s easily the number one cause of tooth loss around the world. Gum disease is sneaky and its symptoms don’t usually seem like the kind of problems that can lead to tooth loss.
Bleeding gums, gum recession, inflammation, and swelling are all standard symptoms of gum disease, but it’s what’s going on below the gumline that’s the most troubling. As infection spreads it can weaken the bone that supports your teeth, causing them to become loose and eventually fall out completely.
Gum disease frequently leads to what we call “the domino effect” of tooth loss because of the weakened bone and loss of gums in your mouth. When one tooth is lost it leads to reabsorption of the bone that surrounds it, quickly causing other teeth to loosen and fall out. It’s a continual process that never has to happen!
Preventing Tooth Loss To Gum Disease And Decay
Both gum disease and tooth decay are easy to prevent if you take good care of your teeth. There are three steps we recommend to doing that successfully:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each session. Be thorough and get each surface of your teeth while holding your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums. This ensures you’ll scrub away plaque at the gumline.
- Floss every night! You can’t afford to skip this essential part of oral health maintenance. Get between each pair of teeth and be sure to get below the gumline too – that’s an important area!
- Get an exam and cleaning performed every six months. The only way to be sure your teeth and gums truly remain healthy is with professional assistance. There are spots in your mouth you simply can’t reach, but we can!
Good Dental Care Starts Today
Living with a healthy mouth isn’t something you can wait to do. You should take advantage of the easy access you have to great dental care in Panama City. Give our office a call today at 850-588-0185 or request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon!