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Protect Your Smile from the Common Causes of Tooth Loss

Dr. Hellwig Sep 13, 2016

A woman with a healthy smile sitting in a dental chairTooth loss is an unfortunate reality for many adults. Restorative dentistry treatments are available to replace missing teeth, allowing those who suffer from tooth loss to enjoy restored oral health and dental function. Although treatments are available to restore missing teeth, preventing tooth loss to begin with can help prevent the need for restorative treatment. To learn more about the common causes of tooth loss, schedule a consultation with San Diego, CA dentist Peter Hellwig.

The Common Causes of Tooth Loss

In many cases, adult tooth loss is preventable. Understanding the causes of tooth loss can help prevent tooth loss and keep the smile healthy for years to come. Some of the most common causes of tooth loss include:

  • Tooth decay: Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria found in plaque. As decay progresses, the inner structures of damaged teeth may become exposed to bacteria, often resulting in a root canal infection, an infection of the nerves, pulp tissues, and blood vessels. These tissues nourish the teeth and control dental sensitivity. If these tissues become infected, the tooth is at risk of death and loss. If a tooth does not fall out on its own as a result of tooth decay, it may need to be extracted to restore oral health.
  • Periodontal disease: Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a common oral health problem often recognized by bleeding gums when brushing and flossing. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums that can lead to the formation of pockets between the gums and teeth, allowing plaque and bacteria to reach the tooth roots. The infection may also spread to the jawbone. The spread of infection and the formation of periodontal pockets can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, making it a common cause of tooth loss. Poor oral hygiene, including not brushing twice a day, not flossing once a day, and skipping routine dental exams, can all contribute to the increased risk of tooth loss.
  • Injury: Sports-related injuries or unexpected accidents, like a fall or car accident, can result in unexpected tooth loss.
  • Root trauma: Sometimes, tooth loss may take weeks or months to occur due to root trauma. Root trauma can cause damage to the blood vessels and other tissues that keep the teeth healthy and nourished, causing the tooth to die and eventually fall out.

Tips to Prevent Tooth Loss

Although it may not be possible to prevent tooth loss incurred as a result of an unexpected accident, there are steps you can take to prevent tooth loss caused by oral health problems, such as:

  • Avoid sugary, acidic foods and drinks, which can increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene habits, including brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day, to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
  • See your dentist for regular exams and cleanings to catch damage early and prevent tooth loss.
  • Protect the teeth while playing sports by wearing a mouth guard.

Protect Your Oral Health

For more tips to protect your oral health and discover your treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hellwig.

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