Adult tooth loss is still shockingly common in the United States. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and nearly 40 million are missing all of their teeth. While the risk of oral health problems, like gum disease and tooth loss, increases with age, adult tooth loss is not inevitable or “normal.”
While factors like heredity and family history can increase your risk of developing gum disease, prevention and lifestyle factors play a significant role in your oral health. That’s good news because it means you have control and can take steps to protect yourself from tooth loss and maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout your life.
Our prosthodontist Dr. Ramin Mahallati and our team at the Center for Implant & Esthetic Dentistry offer a range of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services at our office in Beverly Hills, California.
What happens when you have gum disease
Losing one or more teeth due to trauma or a sports injury is usually out of your control. If you play contact sports, a mouthguard or sports guard can protect your teeth from impact if you fall or are involved in a collision.
Although periodontal (gum) disease rates have fallen since the 1970s, it’s still the most common cause of adult tooth loss, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Despite its prevalence, gum disease is largely preventable. It’s also a progressive disease that worsens over time, so when it’s caught in the early stages (gingivitis) the damage is still reversible.
As it progresses, the damage to the underlying bone and soft tissue that support your teeth and gums progresses. With advanced periodontitis (late-stage gum disease), the risk of tooth loss increases as bone tissue erodes and your gums pull away from the teeth.
What you can do to prevent gum disease and adult tooth loss
Your most powerful resource against gum disease and tooth loss is optimal oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth after meals and flossing at least once a day is essential for healthy teeth and gums at every age.
As effective as oral hygiene is for protecting your oral health from common problems like cavities and gum disease, regular dental exams and professional cleanings are also necessary. The general recommendation for most people is once every six months.
Your lifestyle and diet also play a role in your dental health. Smoking and using tobacco products will not only hurt your teeth and gums, but it can also interfere with your dental care and make it more difficult for your gums to heal.
If you have a family history of gum disease, you may be at risk for developing it, too. Knowing your family’s medical history can help you determine whether you’re at greater risk.
By incorporating preventive dental care, good oral hygiene practices, and a healthier diet and lifestyle into your overall health and wellness routine, you can significantly reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth loss.
For more information about adult tooth loss, contact the Center for Implant & Esthetic Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mahallati at our office in Beverly Hills.