It's no secret that teeth play a critical role in our overall health. Not only do they help us chew and eat, but they also protect our gums and jawbone from damage. This article explores the causes of tooth loss, the steps you can take to prevent it from occurring, and the treatments that can remedy issues around tooth loss. Read on to discover everything you need to know about tooth loss.

1. The Causes of Tooth Loss

A very common cause of tooth loss is decay, or cavities. Cavities are holes in the surface enamel that result from eating sugary products over time. Once cavities form under the tooth's surface, they begin to decay the tooth. Another common cause of tooth loss is gum disease, or gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease that often occurs alongside cavities. Gingivitis can result in periodontitis, a more severe gum tissue damage that can erode bone support around the teeth, resulting in tooth loss.

2. Prevention of Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is a growing concern among adults because maintaining healthy teeth can be difficult due to poor nutrition, undiagnosed or untreated gum disease, and the side effects of certain medications. Therefore, prevention is key to avoiding tooth loss as an older adult. To prevent tooth loss, do things like:

  • Eat a healthy diet with foods that promote strong teeth, such as cheese, milk, nuts, and vegetables. Stay away from sugary snacks that contribute to decay.
  • Brush your teeth twice everyday and floss daily to remove cavity-causing bacteria. Remember brushing alone isn't always enough! Flossing is an important way of cleaning between the spaces where teeth meet. Bacteria can hide in these spaces and lead to tooth decay and gum disease if not removed daily.
  • Attend your dentist regularly for check-ups and teeth cleaning to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria around teeth.

3. Treatment for Tooth Loss

Tooth loss can be emotionally devastating for adults who are used to having a full set of healthy, natural teeth. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for treatment available if you have one or more missing teeth. These include partial or complete dentures, bridges, implant replacements, and even removable prosthetic appliances that attach directly to the gums.

If you're concerned about losing your teeth, talk with your dentist about the options you have for restoring or replacing your smile. A dentist will be happy to answer any questions you may have. For more information, contact a dentist in your area.