According to research from the Journal of the American Dental Association, complete tooth loss in adults ages 65-75 has decreased by more than 75% in the last fifty years. Still, many adults are at risk of losing some or all of their teeth. Here at Smiles of Tulsa, we want to empower you with everything you need to know about how to preserve your oral health and prevent tooth loss.
Several factors lead to tooth loss. Aging, especially aging men will experience tooth and gum decay. Smoking and poor oral health habits in general, such as not visiting our dental office regularly and neglecting to brush your teeth, can severely increase your risk for tooth loss. Finally, several chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and rheumatoid arthritis can also be connected to poor oral health, resulting in tooth loss.
Tooth decay and tooth loss from an accident, especially when not protecting your teeth during sports are common. However, the primary culprit for tooth loss is periodontitis or gum decay. Symptoms of periodontitis include swollen gums, discolored gums, tender gums, seeing blood while brushing or flossing teeth, loose teeth, teeth shifting, and receding gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact us right away. The sooner you get treatment, the better the outcome can be for you.
What Causes Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is caused by a lack of good oral hygiene. When harmful bacteria collect, it becomes a substance called plaque. Without intervention, plaque hardens on teeth. From there, the immune system will attempt to fight the harmful bacteria, but in the process, the gums become infected and then get inflamed. Once inflamed, the gum softens, gaps form, and the teeth will loosen and eventually fall out.
Periodontitis is extremely common for those who do not maintain good oral health care habits. Those with periodontitis will experience mouth pain, as well as cosmetic issues. Many studies have also linked periodontitis to suffering heart disease. Patients with periodontitis may be recommended for surgery to clean the gums or bone grafting if there has been any bone loss.
A milder form of gum disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis is largely treatable, however, untreated infections from gingivitis will weaken your gums, leading to periodontitis and tooth loss. Although the effects of periodontitis are usually permanent, it is a very preventable disease.
Preventing Tooth Loss
Thankfully, periodontitis and tooth loss are largely preventable. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. Limit your sugar intake and be sure to get the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Get a professional cleaning and checkup from our dentist every six months. We can recommend good fluoride toothpaste brands. If you have any stress-related habits such as teeth grinding, please ask us about solutions to help combat teeth grinding, as well.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have further questions or concerns about the effects of tooth loss. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of periodontitis, please set up an appointment with us here at Smiles of Tulsa immediately by calling us at (918) 891-3059 today for periodontal care.