Tooth loss is caused by gum disease brought on by smoking, inadequate tooth brushing and flossing, lack of professional dental care, diabetes, hypertension, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Other causes of tooth loss include:
- Poor diet. Foods and beverages high in sugar, carbohydrates and acid may cause irreversible tooth and gum damage.
- Dental phobia. Many people suffer from anxiety/fear of going to the dentist, and do not seek dental treatment, even if they know they have a problem or are in pain. Ignoring tooth decay or other serious dental problems can prolong and aggravate the condition and eventually lead to tooth loss.
- Finances. Some people have to postpone or forgo dental visits and treatments, including regular check-ups and cleanings, due to high dental care costs and/or lack of insurance coverage. Unfortunately, prolonging or eliminating dental care increases the chances of developing serious problems and, subsequently, greater expense for repairs.
- Medical treatments. Certain treatments, such as chemotherapy, head radiation therapy and immunosuppresive medications, weaken the immune system. These treatments may increase the risk of tooth infections and, consequently, the need for tooth extraction.
Nowadays, most people will maintain their natural teeth over their entire lifetime. Following these 8 dental care tips can help ensure you’re part of that lucky majority:
- Drink fluoridated water. And also use fluoride toothpaste.
- Take care of your teeth and gums. Thorough tooth brushing and flossing to reduce dental plaque can prevent gingivitis.
- Avoid tobacco. Tobacco use in any form increases the risk for gum disease, oral and throat cancers, and oral fungal infection (candidiasis).
- Limit alcohol. When used alone, alcohol is a risk factor for oral cancers. When used in combination with tobacco, the effects are even greater.
- Eat wisely. Avoid sugary or starchy snacks and aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Visit the dentist regularly. Checkups can detect early signs of oral health problems and lead to treatments that will prevent further damage.
- Diabetic patients should work to maintain control of their disease. An increased risk of gum disease is a complication of diabetes.
- If medications produce a dry mouth, ask your doctor if there are other drugs that can be substituted. If not, drink plenty of water, chew sugarless gum, and avoid tobacco and alcohol.