Tooth Loss & Your Health

When a person loses a tooth due to a host of health factors, the overall consequences can lead to more than what meets the eye.

Periodontal Disease as the Main Source of Tooth Loss

There’s a fine line between missing a tooth as a child and receiving a reward for it, and adult tooth loss that can lead to costly dental treatments. If the gap is in the front of your mouth, it can cause embarrassment and dramatically alter your appearance.

Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is when the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, creating pockets where additional bacteria can build up and cause an infection. Treatment for periodontal disease depends on the severity of your compromised gums.

Prevention is Key

The best way to avoid the ramifications of painful gums and possible tooth loss is by focusing on preventative health and oral hygiene. An effective oral hygiene regimen can keep your gums and teeth healthy, and possibly reverse the symptoms of gingivitis, which is an early form of periodontal disease. These preventative measures include:

  • Toothpaste – Toothpaste can play a key role in an at-home treatment of gum disease. By preventing issues before they start, choose a deep cleansing toothpaste that can neutralize the bacteria found in plaque that builds up around the gum line.
  • Mouthwash – Gargling twice per day with a quality, protective mouthwash can reduce plaque buildup and kill the germs that may form early in periodontal disease. Not only will your breath be fresher, you’ll protect against gingivitis and any gum tissue problems.
  • Brushing and Flossing – Choosing a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits your mouth is the most optimal solution to cleaning the teeth thoroughly and stimulating the gums. Twice daily is recommended in order to prevent the formation of bacteria. Flossing is also an important part of any dental health regimen. It gently removes food particles trapped between teeth and further strengthens the gum tissue.

Plaque is a naturally occurring substance in the mouth, so it can’t be completely prevented. It is, however, possible to reduce the presence of this gum destroyer with proper oral hygiene on a regular basis.

Diseases that Contribute to Tooth Loss

While periodontal disease is the primary reason people over the age of 35 lose their teeth, there are other common sources of tooth loss that can contribute to gaps in the mouth. These include:

  1. Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a culprit because a reduction in bone density can lead to deterioration of the bone that supports the teeth. As the bones in the cheeks and jaw begin to weaken, there’s less structure for teeth to grab onto and they become less likely to uphold the teeth in their proper place.
  2. Cardiovascular disease – Researchers have long recognized a connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular diseases. In fact, the link between gum disease-related tooth loss and the presence of plaque in the carotid artery lead to a higher number of missing teeth, and an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
  3. Cancer – Not only can advanced gum disease possibly lead to oral, lung, pancreatic, and gastrointestinal cancers, it may also be connected to breast cancer.
  4. Dementia – Tooth loss can possibly lead to memory loss. Periodontal disease has been one of the factors responsible for dementia risk, and this originates with childhood nutritional deficiencies.
  5. Pregnancy risks – Complications associated with periodontal disease and tooth loss can include premature birth and fetal growth restriction. And not only gum disease causes the problems with a woman’s pregnancy, but the pregnancy itself can make periodontal disease progress faster. Proper dental care throughout pregnancy is an important part of prenatal preparations.

Many of the connections between tooth loss and your health can be traced to inefficient oral hygiene, which can cause more problems than simply a cavity or bad breath. To further reduce your risk of any gum problems, reduce your stress, eat a well-balanced diet, stop smoking, and get treatment for tooth grinding if it’s an issue.

By following Dr. Spector’s instructions, brush and floss daily and between meals, visiting our Haworth, NJ practice twice each year for cleaning and check-ups, the onset of periodontal disease is likely to stay away. We encourage you to call for a consultation to ensure your journey to a successful smile is solid.