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What Causes Tooth Loss?

By Dr. Silvers on April 30, 2016


A cross-section of a tooth Adult tooth loss can be devastating. The loss of one or more permanent teeth can significantly impact quality of life; it can make it difficult to eat and affect the appearance of the smile. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments are available to address missing teeth, restoring dental function and confidence. Discover the causes of tooth loss, and tips to protect your smile, in this overview from Harrisburg, PA dentist Warren D. Silvers, III.

What Causes Tooth Loss?

Tooth loss has many causes. Most tooth loss can be prevented with proper oral hygiene, but sometimes, even healthy teeth may fall out. Preventing tooth loss begins with understanding the causes. Some of the most common causes of tooth loss include:

  • Poor oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene, specifically not brushing or flossing regularly, increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, two of the most common causes of tooth loss. 
  • Gum disease: Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums caused by plaque and tartar build up. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to the formation of pockets between the gums and teeth, allowing plaque and bacteria to reach the structures below the gum line. This can cause the tooth roots to decay and the structures supporting the teeth to weaken, eventually leading to tooth loss.
  • Tooth decay: Tooth decay is caused by the prolonged exposure of the teeth to plaque and bacteria, as well as sugars and acids from the foods we eat and drink. When tooth decay is allowed to advance, it can cause the nerves and tissues within the tooth to die. In addition to damaging dental nerves, tooth decay can severely compromise the structure of the teeth.
  • Sports-related injury: Tooth loss may occur in healthy teeth as a result of a sports-related injury or accident.  
  • Trauma to the roots: Tooth loss may not be immediate after an accident or injury, but may occur months later as a result of trauma sustained to the tooth's roots.

Preventing Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is unfortunate, but it doesn't have to happen to you. Practice these tips to protect your smile from tooth loss.

  • Brush and floss routinely: Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day is key to maintaining a healthy smile. Both brushing and flossing help prevent gum disease and tooth decay, drastically reducing the risk of tooth loss.
  • Limit sugary, acidic foods and drinks: Foods and drinks high in sugar and acid can erode the teeth's protective enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay. Limit these foods and drinks to protect your teeth and gums.
  • Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings: Regular dental exams and cleanings should be scheduled once every six months. This helps dentists to catch oral health problems at their earliest stages, and they can prevent oral health problems.
  • Wear a mouth guard when playing sports: Those who are at risk of tooth loss from sports-related injuries can protect their teeth by wearing a mouth guard during play.  
  • Seek treatment at the first signs of a dental issue: When dental damage goes untreated, it can lead to major issues, including tooth loss. It's important to seek treatment at the first signs of an oral health issue to protect your smile.

Discover Your Treatment Options

Dr. Silvers offers a variety of treatments to replace missing teeth and restore oral health. To learn more about your treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Silvers today.

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