The Causes of Tooth Loss and How to Protect Your Smile
The loss of a permanent tooth can be devastating. Fortunately, tooth loss is both treatable and preventable. General dentistry treatments can help protect the smile, preventing tooth loss and ensuring a beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime. For more information about the causes of tooth loss, and how you can prevent it, contact our Ridgewood, NJ dentists at Ridgewood Dental Associates.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
Tooth loss may be the result of an individual cause or a combination of causes. Some of the most common causes of tooth loss include:
- Tooth decay: Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. Tooth decay occurs when bacterial acids stay in contact with the teeth. These acids erode the enamel, eventually leading to tooth decay. When tooth decay goes untreated, more and more of the tooth will erode, eventually allowing bacteria to reach the tooth's inner nerves, pulp tissue, and blood vessels. When these tissues, which nourish the tooth, become infected, the tooth may die and fall out or require extraction to restore oral health.
- Gum disease: When plaque, tartar, and bacteria are left along the gum line, gum disease may develop. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss in a number of ways. Gum disease increases the risk of tooth decay and can even lead to decay of the tooth roots. If left untreated, gum disease may spread to the structures supporting the teeth, including the jawbone, eventually leading to tooth loss.
- Poor oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene, not brushing or flossing frequently enough, and skipping trips to the dentist can leave plaque, bacteria, and acids on the teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
- Facial injury or root trauma: Otherwise healthy teeth may be lost due to a facial injury, like that sustained during a car accident, while skateboarding, or playing sports. When root trauma is involved, a tooth may not immediately fall out after an injury. Instead, damage to the root may take a few days, weeks, or months before the tooth dies and falls out.
How to Prevent Tooth Loss
Follow these tips to protect your smile.
- Brush at least twice a day: Brushing at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed, is essential for oral health. Brushing the teeth prevents plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.
- Floss at least once a day: Flossing is one of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease and tooth decay between the teeth and along the gum line. Floss at least once a day, being sure to floss along each side of each tooth, to keep the gums and teeth healthy.
- See your dentist every six months: It's also important to see your dentist at least every six months for a regular exam and cleaning. Regular exams help prevent dental damage, catch issues early, and cleanings prevent tartar buildup where brushing and flossing at home can miss.
- Avoid sugary, acidic foods and drinks: Sugary and acidic foods and drinks increase the risk of tooth decay, a leading cause of tooth loss. Avoiding sugary, acidic foods and drinks, along with practicing proper oral hygiene, can help reduce the risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.
- Wear a mouth guard: Wearing a mouth guard while playing sports, skateboarding, or rollerblading, can help protect the teeth from unexpected tooth loss as a result of facial injury.
Seek Treatment for Tooth Loss
If you already suffer from tooth loss or other dental damage, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our team at Ridgewood Dental Associates.