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Tooth Loss Isn't Just a Problem for Older Adults: Here's How to Reduce Your Risk

Tooth Loss Isn't Just a Problem for Older Adults: Here's How to Reduce Your Risk

Adults have 32 teeth, including eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and 12 molars. Without your wisdom teeth, this number jumps down to 28 teeth. However, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that the average adult between the age of 20 and 64 only has 25.5 teeth 一 that’s about 3 missing teeth on average! 

All of these statistics show one thing: Tooth loss isn’t just a problem for older adults. There are, however, many things you can do to help reduce your risk of losing a tooth.

In this article, Dr. Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro shares our best tips for reducing your risk of tooth loss.

Maintain a solid oral care routine at home

At-home care is your best defense against many oral issues that could compromise your teeth. Brushing and flossing can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease 一 both of which can lead to tooth loss in their most advanced forms.

Keep these tips in mind:

In addition to at-home care, schedule your routine dental cleanings. During professional dental cleanings, we remove plaque and tartar, but we can also monitor for any warning signs of conditions that require treatment.

Reduce your risk factors for gum disease

In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene, focusing on gum disease prevention can go a long way in preventing tooth loss as gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss. Poor oral hygiene is just one of many risk factors for gum disease. 

Other risk factors include:

Keep in mind that just because you have some of these risk factors, it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily develop gum disease. However, if you can address these risk factors you can reduce your risk of developing gum disease, and consequently, the complications of gum disease such as tooth loss.

Address dental concerns quickly

In many cases, prompt dental attention can help save your tooth. For example, a small cavity is easily remedied with a filling, but if the cavity is left untreated it can grow. If a small cavity is left untreated, a filling may not be enough to correct it. As decay spreads, you may need a root canal, a crown, or in some cases, it may be better to simply extract a severely decayed tooth.

Cracks and fractures can also lead to tooth loss if they’re not addressed. Bacteria can enter your tooth through the crack, causing an infection. If the infection spreads to the pulp of your tooth, your tooth is at risk of dying.

Rather than wait for issues to escalate, seek prompt dental care. Treating gingivitis (the earliest form of gum disease) or filling a cavity can help you avoid complications of untreated dental conditions.

Wear a mouthguard

So far, we’ve only addressed tips for tooth loss related to dental conditions. Now, let’s shift gears and focus on prevention tips for tooth loss not related to oral health. Accidents, whether it’s a sports accident or a car accident, can contribute to broken and/or knocked-out teeth. While knocked-out teeth (also called avulsed teeth) can sometimes be splinted and reattached, that’s not always the case.

Your best bet is to prevent avulsions altogether, and you can do that by wearing a mouthguard. Wear a mouthguard any time you participate in contact sports or high-risk recreational activities. 

This includes:

Professional athletes aren’t the only ones who need to protect their teeth. Wear a mouthguard whether you’re a pro, an amateur, a weekend warrior, a hobbyist, or even just trying out a new sport for the first time.

Don’t use your teeth as tools

As tempting as it may be to use your teeth to open a package, resist the temptation! Using your teeth as tools can lead to cracks, fractures, and chips. Damage of any kind, particularly untreated tooth cracks, can increase your risk of pain, infection, and even tooth loss.

What to do if you lose a tooth?

Teodoro understands the emotional impact of losing a tooth, and we want you to know you have many options for restoring the health and appearance of your smile.

From dental implants to crowns and bridges, we help restore the form and function of your smile.

If you’d like to replace a missing tooth or if you have prevention questions, reach out to us at 510-254-3328. Or, simply try our online booking system.

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