Tooth loss is a normal occurrence with baby teeth. Children’s teeth become lose and fall off and they are later replaced by adult teeth. On the other hand, losing a tooth when you are an adult is an unfavorable event because with missing teeth you lose the ability to chew and risk your health in many ways. Permanent tooth loss with adults is usually the result of periodontal disease, tooth decay or injury. In the past, it was considered normal to lose your teeth as you grow old, but nowadays dentistry is so developed that not only are there various methods to replace missing teeth, but there are methods to care for your teeth in order to keep them forever.
Permanent tooth loss is caused by:
Poor oral hygiene: If you do not brush and floss daily, you are likely to get cavities and gum disease, and with cavities and gum disease, you risk tooth loss. It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal) and to floss at least once a day. You should also visit your dentist every six months for regular check-ups.
Poor nutrition: Foods that contain a lot of acids, sugar and carbohydrates cause tooth decay and can do sever damage to your teeth and gums. Consequently, you risk tooth loss.
Teeth grinding (bruxism): Teeth grinding wears your teeth down and makes them susceptible to tooth loss.
Smoking or chewing tobacco: These bad habits can cause gum disease and lead to tooth loss.
Contact sports: If you play football, hockey, basketball, martial arts and so on, you should definitely wear a mouth guard to prevent possible tooth loss.
Fear of dentist: Some people are so afraid of dentist that they never visit one, unless they have a really severe tooth ache. Not visiting your dentist regularly will make it impossible to react properly and prevent possible tooth loss.
Finances: Many people think that dental treatments are always very expensive. Sometimes they can be, but there are also alternative treatments that are less costly. You should also keep in mind that prevention costs less than treatment.
Everybody is at risk of losing a tooth, but reasons for tooth loss differ and depend on person’s age. Even though people usually associate tooth loss with the elderly, statistics show that almost 30 percent of people lose their first tooth between the ages of 21 and 30. Children who play sports must wear a mouth guard. Adults must have a proper oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease because they usually cause tooth loss. The same applies to seniors. They should also boost their immune system because diseases affect the mouth as well.
In order to prevent permanent tooth loss, prevention is by far the best resolution. Take care of your teeth and avoid the consequences of permanent tooth loss:
- Higher pressure on other teeth because some are missing.
- Changes in facial features.
- Speaking and eating problems.
- Social embarrassment and isolation.
- Anxiety and self-consciousness.
- For baby teeth, potential loss of space for adult teeth.
- Lower self-esteem and loss of confidence.
Luckily, nowadays there are so many tooth replacement options, which do not have to be extremely expensive in the first place. E.g., dental implants are the best and most comfortable tooth replacement solution. They are indistinguishable from real teeth. However, they can be pricey. Secondly, dental crowns and bridges are custom-fitted tooth prosthetics cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist. They also look very natural. Partial and complete dentures are removable and replace several or even all the missing teeth. They are very aesthetic.
One more tip: A broken or knocked-out tooth can be saved! Pick up tooth by the crown (not the root), If it is dirty, gently rinse the tooth with water and do not dry it with a cloth. If possible, reposition the tooth in the socket immediately. If not, you must keep it moist. Either put it in milk, in your mouth (next to your cheek), or in emergency tooth saving kit, if you own one. See a dentist as soon as possible, ideally within 30 minutes.
The most obvious and at the same time most annoying effect of missing teeth is aesthetics. The psychological and social consequences of tooth loss can also be profound because the way we look affects the way we feel about ourselves. But it is not just about the looks, tooth loss also affects health, facial aesthetics, your lifestyle and habits.