Tooth loss can affect what and how you eat, and the way you feel about your appearance when you talk and smile. Many different factors can cause tooth loss—some of them you can control and others, such as your age and gender, you cannot. Here are two of the most common reasons for tooth loss and tips to help prevent them.
Poor Dental Hygiene Habits
Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in the world, and a recent study conducted in Kuwait found it to be the number one cause of tooth loss. This study found 40 percent of individuals with tooth loss had never had professional dental maintenance and 60 percent never or only occasionally brushed their teeth. Although the study was completed in Kuwait, the results are found to be "remarkably similar to most studies performed around the world." Your dental hygiene is a factor you can control to prevent tooth loss and your potential need of dentures or teeth implants to repair the damage.
After you eat, food particles, bacteria, and saliva combine together to form a sticky plaque on your teeth. If you don't remove it with brushing, the plaque crystallizes and hardens into tartar, which is difficult to remove with a tooth brush. Tartar can only be scraped off your teeth with a dentist's professional cleaning.
When the tartar hardens on your teeth, it irritates your gums, causing them to become inflamed and pull away from your teeth. This pocket of space allows more bacteria, plaque, and tartar to fill inside, causing further inflammation and infection. Pockets of bacteria between your gums and teeth can eventually spread into your blood and throughout your body.
It is recommended that you only need to brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day to keep your teeth and gums healthy and to prevent tooth loss. Begin including teeth brushing in your morning and nightly routine if you are not already doing so. Use a soft-bristled tooth brush so you don't hurt your gum tissue or scrub off tooth enamel. An electric tooth brush is also a good way to make brushing your teeth easier. Then, make sure you visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning to remove any tartar.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can put you at risk for many health problems, including tooth loss. If you have diabetes, you are more than twice as likely to lose all your teeth as people who don't have diabetes. A recent study found 28 percent of diabetics had lost all their teeth, versus only 14 percent of non-diabetics who had lost all their teeth.
There are several reasons why diabetes can lead to problems in your oral health. When you are diabetic, your body can be more slow to heal infections. A tooth or gum infection can turn into a tooth abscess with the infection spreading to your body through the blood stream. It has also been suggested that hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar in your body can disrupt the delivery of nutrients and removal of wastes from your gum tissues, leading to periodontal disease and tooth loss.
Besides managing your blood sugar with your diabetes, it is important to take extra special care of your teeth and gums to prevent tooth loss and the need to wear dentures or get dental implants. If you are diabetic, you might need to go to the dentist more than twice a year. It is recommended that some diabetics might need to visit their dentist four times a year for a professional tooth and gum cleaning. Your dentist can do the proper cleaning necessary to remove any crystallized tartar stuck on your teeth. Your dentist will also be able to teach you the best ways to care for your teeth and prevent tooth loss.
Follow these tips to help prevent tooth loss from bad oral hygiene and diabetes. For more information, contact a professional, like those at Michels & Gauquie Cosmetic and Family Dentistry.