Tooth loss due to decay may lead to a lifetime of low self-esteem, but can also impact a person’s ability to speak coherently and eat easily. Tooth loss is a process in which one or more teeth come loose and fall out. Tooth loss is normal for deciduous teeth (baby teeth), when they are replaced by a person’s adult teeth. Losing teeth is undesirable and is the result of injury or disease, such as dental avulsion, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Tooth decay happens when oral bacteria produce acids that gradually soften the enamel, leading to cavities in the teeth. The main cause of tooth decay is sugar, due to the fact it accelerates the production of acid by the oral bacteria. Not only does the sugar in the food and drink we consume fuel this acid, but the acid in these foodstuffs themselves wears away the protective enamel on the tooth’s surface making them further susceptible to decay.
Severe tooth loss can limit speech and the ability to eat and those who lose teeth may be required to opt for dental implants in order to reconstruct the mouth. Today, 74% of all adults have had at least one tooth extracted.
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
There are many reasons a person might be missing teeth. The most common is tooth decay, which is related to gingivitis. Teeth that are not properly cared for decay over time. if left untreated, these teeth can become loose and fall out. Others are:
- Being older than 35
- Never getting professional dental care
- Never using a toothbrush
- Smoking (current or past)
- Having diabetes
- Having high blood pressure
- Having rheumatoid arthritis
- Poor nutrition
THE UNSEEN EFFECTS OF TOOTH LOSS AND TOOTH DECAY:
Immediately after tooth loss or tooth decay, many people experience tooth pain or sensitivity. However, even in cases of tooth loss where pain is not a problem, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
The most obvious effect of missing teeth is aesthetic. The way you look affects the way you feel, and the psychological and social consequences of tooth loss can also be profound, as we shall see. But it’s not just about unsightly gaps; there’s something less apparent going on in the area of a lost tooth that can affect function, health, facial aesthetics.
Believe it or not, in the beginning and at the end it’s not so much about teeth as it is about bone, which needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. In the case of alveolar (sac-like) bone which surrounds and supports teeth, the necessary stimulation comes from the teeth themselves. Teeth make hundreds of fleeting contacts with each other throughout the day. When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of alveolar bone. There is a 25% decrease in width of bone during the first year after tooth loss and an overall 4 millimeters decrease in height over the next few years.
The best way to prevent tooth loss or tooth decay as the case may be is to practice good dental health habits, which include brushing and flossing regularly. Also, see your dentist at least once every six months and make an appointment as soon as possible if you experience tooth pain or other dental problems.
It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet that contains adequate calcium, protein, and other nutrients, and talk to your doctor and dentist about dietary changes if you seem to be having tooth problems. You also should get tested regularly for diabetes, especially if you have a family history or experience tooth loss or decay on a regular basis.
Your teeth are more important to your overall health than you might think. Losing your teeth not only makes you look unhealthy, but also may be the sign of a serious health problem. Identifying dental and overall health issues early gives you a greater chance to recover quickly and prevent future complications.
It is important to replace lost teeth as soon as possible, in order to prevent further tooth loss and other conditions such as TMJ dysfunction.
Article by eDokita team
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