According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 3.75% of American adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have no remaining teeth. In addition, American adults between the age of 20 and 64 have an average of 24.92 out of 28 remaining teeth. According to these sobering statistics, many adults in American will lose at least one of their permanent teeth by the time they reach the age of 64. So, how can you increase your chances of keeping all of your teeth for a lifetime? Read on to get more information about the common causes of tooth loss and how you can reduce your risks.
The most common cause of tooth loss in American adults is periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth and can range from mild inflammation (Gingivitis) to a more serious form called Periodontitis. If it is allowed to progress to Periodontitis, periodontal disease can cause irreversible damage to the bone and tissues that support the teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss. The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good daily oral hygiene including flossing and brushing and to visit your dentist regularly for scheduled dental cleanings and checkups. You should also avoid smoking or using other tobacco products as this will increase your risk for developing periodontal disease. If you currently have mild or moderate periodontal disease, you should seek treatment from your dentist as soon as possible. Treating gum disease while it is in its earliest stages can prevent it from progressing and threatening the health of your teeth and their supporting tissues.
Tooth decay (dental caries) is another common cause of tooth loss in American adults. Tooth decay can range from mild decay that can be fixed with a simple dental filling to advanced decay that damages the structure of the tooth. If tooth decay is treated early, it can often be fixed with a dental filling or a crown. In cases where the decay is so severe that the tooth cannot be saved with a filling or dental crown, an extraction may be necessary.
Tooth loss can also be caused by trauma to the mouth. Common causes of mouth trauma include car accidents and sports related accidents. The best way to prevent traumatic tooth loss is to wear your seatbelt while riding in a car and to wear a properly fitting mouth guard while participating in contact sports. Athletic mouth guards can be purchased at most sporting good stores. You can also get a custom fitted mouth guard from your dentist or oral surgeon.
Tooth loss does not have to be a normal part of the aging process; there are things you can do to prevent it. If you would like additional information on how to care for your dental health and prevent tooth loss, talk to your family dentist today.