Tooth loss: Why it is so common in adults

Tooth loss is an issue that most people will face at some point in their lifetime, and according to Underground Health Reporter, by age 74—26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth.

It is a serious problem that must be prevented because, it affects not only the aesthetic aspect of smile, but several other problems can occur in the face, following the loss of one or more teeth.
It seems that the risk of losing teeth depends on age, sex, race, education, habits and behaviors.
In this article, we will see the most frequent risk factors, consequences and solutions to this problem.

What are the consequences of tooth loss ?

tooth loss consequences Our teeth are an important part of the jaw. They ensures the stability of the dentition and periodontal tissues including bones and gums. Indeed, thy have a role in the growth of our jaws, their losses will surely have negative effects.
In case of loss of one or more teeth, the remaining ones will move seeking contact with other teeth. The spaces between the teeth will widen, the dentition will lose its strength and stability.
Bone and gum will gradually degrade, leading to gingival recessions. The higher the number of missing teeth, the more important the recession, increasing the risk of losing other teeth.
Losing teeth will also reduce the density of the jaw bone, which will make implant treatment impossible.
Bone resoption can result in deformity of the facial shape.
In addition, losing teeth has psychological effects. It can happen that an incomplete dentition creates an embarrassment in society, prevents smile or make us avoid certain situations. Speech can also be affected.
It is not uncommon to see that tooth loss has undesirable effects on chewing. This can lead to digestive problems. People with these troubles can be forced to avoid certain foods that they enjoy, but most importantly, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which can ruin our health.

The most common causes of tooth loss

Several factors can be responsible for tooth loss. Dental diseases are the main factors in addition to accidents and troubles (bruxism).

Dental diseases

Cavities: caries are an infectious diseases of multi factorial origin. The bacteria that consume the sugars from our diet will produce acids. These acids attack the mineralized tissues of our teeth (enamel and dentin) and evolve towards the pulp (which represent the center of our teeth), resulting in the total destruction of dental crown.
As far as sugar consumption is concerned, it is not so much the quantity that matters as the frequency with which it is ingested. The more sugar we consume repetitively, the longer the demineralization time of our teeth and cavities risk increases.

Gum disease: Gingivitis and periodontitis are considered the main causes of tooth loss. These diseases are related to other types of bacteria. "They do not eat sugars, they consume mainly protein. And from these proteins, they reduce the acidity to promote the formation of scale."

Periodontitis is related to the accumulation of bacteria in the space between teeth and gums (sulcus). "From the sulcus, they produce toxic substances that destroy the attachment system of the tooth to the bone, causing the formation of pockets followed by the fall of teeth."
The deeper the pockets, the greater the bacterial invasion because, bacteria in the pockets are protected from the external environment.

In addition to dental diseases, other factors make some people more likely to lose their teeth than others:

Genetic factors

Due to genetic factors, some adults are more susceptible to caries and periodontal disease. Indeed, genetics determines the effectiveness of our immune system, our rate of salivary secretion (fundamental element in prevention of cavities), the resistance of teeth and periodontal tissues; thicker gums and teeth are more resistant to tooth loss.

Bruxism

It's about cringing your teeth involuntarily in your sleep. Squeezing teeth very hard stimulates bone destruction and tooth wear. Bruxism speeds up the process of tooth loss.

Hygiene, habits and behaviors

People who neglect their oral hygiene have a high risk of losing their teeth.
Tobacco is the enemy of your gums: Smokers have a gum that is very concentrated in nicotine (25 times higher than blood). The cells of the gums suffer enormously from tobacco.
Smokers present compared to non-smokers:

  • 6 times more risk of developing gum disease.
  • More periodontal pockets (advanced sign of periodontal diseases).
  • More gum recessions (the exposure in the roots of the teeth caused by a loss of gum tissue).
  • More bone loss.
  • More dental loss.
  • Less gum bleeding (which can hide early signs of gum disease); The gums are relatively pale, they show no symptoms of redness and swelling.
Stopping smoking improves periodontal health.

How to protect our teeth ?

Preventing dental loss requires good plaque control, stopping certain habits and behaviors that affect our teeth, and most importantly, maintaining a good oral hygiene.
I advise you to:
  • Brush your teeth 2 times a day for at least 3 minutes, with a good brushing technique and a soft bristle toothbrush to avoid hurting your gum. Brushing prevents the film that covers the teeth from becoming plaque, which is more difficult to remove.
  • Floss your teeth once a day. Flossing helps you to eliminate 30% of the remaining plaque between the teeth, inaccessible to brushing. You can also use an interdental brush if your teeth are not tight. Oral irrigator will also be effective. A study has shown that oral irrigator reduces inflammation of the gums.
  • Ask your dentist if you should use mouthwash. The mouthwash is an antiseptic solution that eliminates aggressive bacteria from our mouth responsible for gingivitis. But the mouthwash should not be used continuously, hence the importance of seeking the advice of your dentist.
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco is a risk factor for gum disease. Stopping smoking improves gum health.
  • Control your general health. Some diseases aggravate gingivitis especially diabetes, some infections and hormonal modifications.

Sometimes, it is difficult to have a check on bacterial plaque without visiting your dentist because, we do not always realize that we have plaque and it is difficult to remove the one that is inaccessible to brushing. That's why you have to visit your dentist once or twice a year. He alone can eliminate the plaque already formed by descaling and root planing.