Causes of Tooth Loss


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Missing teeth are a very common problem, especially among the older generation who have not always had access to good dental care. However, many younger people also suffer from the problem. There are a huge number of reasons for missing teeth; the most common of these include the following:

Cavities

Cavities are caused by tooth decay. When a tooth is not cleaned or looked after properly plaque appears on its surface. Without treatment, the amount of plaque present will increase and will start to destroy the tooth by weakening its enamel surface. This causes cavities or 'holes' in the tooth. Eventually, without dental treatment, these cavities will grow until the tooth and its root become so weak that the tooth falls out.

There is no need for anyone to suffer from cavities. Visiting your dentist regularly, brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day and avoiding large amounts of sugary foods should ensure that you do not develop cavities. If it is too late for this, however, dental implants can help repair the damaged caused by cavities.

Drugs and Medications

Both illegal and prescription drugs can cause tooth loss. There are two main ways in which they can do this. The first way is linked to the effect some drugs and medications have on your behaviour. A number of illegal drugs cause users to grind, grit or clench their teeth. With extensive use, this can seriously affect your dental health and can badly damage your teeth. This side effect is mostly related to the use of crack cocaine and methamphetamines such as speed, meth, crystal meth and mephedrone. Crack cocaine, along with other drugs, can also cause you to vomit. The acid in your stomach which is introduced to your mouth when you vomit causes serious damage to your teeth.

The second way in which drugs and medication can cause tooth loss is to do with the actual contents of the product. Some, like crack cocaine, are made up of acidic chemicals which cause damage. A number of common medications such as cloridine, a blood pressure drug, reduce the production of saliva in the mouth; this in turn reduces the protective, antibacterial effect of your saliva on your teeth. Other medicines can reduce your overall oral health, for example, many chemotherapy drugs deplete your immune system in general, including the health of your teeth.

Bulimia and Anorexia

Bulimia, an awful illness in itself, has the added side effect of causing tooth damage and even tooth loss. Vomiting introduces the extremely harsh acids present in your stomach, into your mouth. This places your teeth into direct contact with the acid which breaks down their surface and causes cavities. Unfortunately, brushing your teeth straight after vomiting is also harmful as it cases serious damage to your tooth enamel. The only sure-fire way to prevent tooth loss in this situation is to visit your doctor immediately and seek help for your bulimia. It is vital that you do this.

Both anorexia and bulimia are mental illnesses which are related in many cases to low self esteem. This can also mean that you take less pride in your appearance and neglect your teeth. Low standards of oral hygiene can cause tooth decay and ultimately tooth loss. If you are suffering from any condition of this sort it is extremely important that you seek medical help from your doctor immediately.

Genetic Conditions

There are a number of genetic conditions which can cause you to suffer from tooth loss. Often these conditions do not mean you will definitely loose your teeth but instead mean that, if you treat your teeth badly, you are more likely to be affected by the problem. Gum disease is often the root cause of tooth loss and, unfortunately, it is possible to inherit a predisposition to gum disease from your parents.

Dental Trauma

Tooth trauma is caused by an injury to the mouth area. Injuring your gum, jaw or teeth can all result in tooth loss. Often, however, teeth are not entirely knocked out, in which case the original tooth can be repaired by a crown.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Plaque is a substance made of sugars and bacteria. A build-up of plaque on the teeth is the result of not caring for your teeth properly. Plaque can be kept at bay by thoroughly brushing twice daily. Poor oral hygiene, however, allows plaque to thrive. When we fail to clean our teeth thoroughly enough, remnants of food are left behind. The bacteria in plaque feed on this and grow. As it does so it releases acid which breaks down the enamel surface that protects our teeth, causing cavities, gum disease and, in severe cases, tooth loss.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss. Many people are prone to gum disease but good oral hygiene and regular check ups should ensure you do not develop the condition. There are two common types of gum disease; gingivitis and periodontitis. They occur when plaque is present in the mouth. This results in swollen and painful gums. More importantly, it can cause your gum to soften, this can ultimately wear down and damage your jaw which can lead to wobbly teeth which are far more likely to fall out on their own or due to trauma.


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