Tooth loss can be a long process caused by poor oral hygiene or it may occur suddenly as a result of an accident. Fortunately, restorative dentistry treatments are available to treat tooth loss for improved oral health and dental function. Although treatment is available, preventing tooth loss to begin with is best for oral health. To learn more about protecting your smile from the common causes of tooth loss, schedule a consultation with Pittsburgh, PA dentist Edward Narcisi. In the meantime, read here to learn what causes tooth loss and how to prevent it.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
Tooth loss can take years to occur when caused by oral health issues or it can happen in an instant as a result of an accident. Some of the most common causes of tooth loss include:
- Tooth decay: Tooth decay is a process that wears away the layers of the teeth through exposure to acids from the bacteria found in plaque and acids in foods and drinks. Tooth decay may start as a small cavity, but if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.
- Root canal infection: Root canal infections are caused by untreated tooth decay or dental fractures and can be extremely painful. Root canal infections occur when bacteria is allowed to reach the inner pulp tissues, nerves, and blood vessels that regulate dental sensitivity and nourish the teeth. Severe root canal infections can damage the blood vessels and nerves to the point that a tooth dies and falls out on its own or requires extraction to restore oral health.
- Gum disease: Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums caused by plaque and tartar buildup. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss in a number of ways. Gum disease increases the risk of tooth decay, gum recession, and periodontal pockets, all of which can cause tooth loss.
- Neglecting oral hygiene: Neglecting oral hygiene, like not properly brushing or flossing, greatly increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Accident or injury: An accident or injury, such as a car accident or sports-related injury, can lead to unexpected and sudden tooth loss.
Tips to Prevent Tooth Loss
Understanding the causes of tooth loss makes it easier to take steps to protect the smile.
- Practice proper brushing habits: Brushing twice a day for a full two minutes each is one of the best ways to prevent tooth loss by reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
- Floss daily: Brushing alone is typically not enough to prevent gum disease. Flossing daily is a key way to prevent gum disease as well as tooth decay between the teeth.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks: Acidic foods and drinks, such as red wine and tomato sauce, increase the risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay. Limit acidic foods and drinks to reduce the risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.
- Wear a mouth guard when playing sports: Although it's not always possible to prevent tooth loss as a result of an accident, wearing a mouth guard while playing sports can help reduce the risk of tooth loss from sports-related injuries.
- Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings: Regular dental exams and cleanings should be scheduled every six months to ensure good oral health and prevent tooth loss.
Schedule a Consultation
To learn more about your treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Narcisi.