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Four ways you could be at risk for tooth loss

Older Americans are keeping their teeth longer than ever.1 Here’s more good news: Some causes of tooth loss can be in your control. That’s why it is so important to maintain a good oral health routine and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

Get to know the top causes of tooth loss so you can keep your smile healthy:

 

Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the number one cause of tooth loss among adults2 – accounting for 70 percent of missing teeth.3

It begins with bacteria and inflammation in the gums. As it progresses, it destroys the gum tissues and can destroy the jawbone underneath the gums, resulting in no support for the teeth.4

 

Cavities

Cavities are holes in teeth caused by a bacterial infection that turns into tooth decay. If untreated, a cavity can destroy the pulp in the center of the tooth, which will likely result in a root canal or even removal of the tooth.5

Prevent cavities by practicing good oral health habits, choosing healthy foods and drinks, and making regular trips to the dentist for early detection. Early treatment can save your tooth.

 

Physical injury or trauma

Accidents happen, especially during sports, which is why mouth guards are important. Falls, car accidents and more can also cause tooth loss. However, you can be vigilant to avoid some common causes of tooth loss or damage through accidents. Don’t use your teeth to remove caps, tops or lids, to loosen knots, tear off tags or cut thread. Nor should you use your teeth to chew ice, open nut shells or chew on popcorn kernels if you want to make sure your teeth stay intact.6

 

Other diseases and risk factors 7

In addition to periodontal disease, these diseases and risk factors can lead to tooth loss:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Arthritis
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition

 

Be sure to mention any diseases and lifestyle factors to your dentist so you can work together to prevent tooth loss.

 

Sources:

1 https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2019-archive/january/jada-more-older-adults-keeping-their-natural-teeth-longer

2 https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/periodontal-disease

3 https://www.chw.org/medical-care/dental-care/dental-and-oral-health/periodontal-disease

4 https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gingivitis-periodontal-disease#1

5 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001055.htm

6 https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/tooth-loss-risks#1   

7 https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/9-risk-factors-tooth-loss#1

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