Tooth loss: Causes and 3 ways for seniors to prevent tooth loss

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Some older adults mistakenly believe that tooth loss is unavoidable as we age. While losing baby teeth is natural, losing adult teeth is not. Tooth loss is not unavoidable. While time and age can cause a reduction in oral health, tooth loss and other disorders are not caused by age. Learn how to keep your teeth for a lifetime!

Major causes of tooth loss in seniors

Major causes of tooth loss in seniors: Periodontal Disease 

The most prevalent cause of tooth loss among the elderly is periodontal disease, which gradually wears away the supporting tissues in the mouth, often leading to tooth loss. Periodontal disease grows more common as you get older, both because plaque and tartar build up over time and because dental hygiene may become more difficult as you get older. If you don’t have severe periodontal disease, you may simply need a few recommendations to make regular brushing more convenient, such as utilizing an electric toothbrush. If you already have periodontal disease, ongoing treatment and care at the dental clinic are essential.

Periodontal or gum disease is an inflammatory condition of the gum and bone support (periodontal tissues) surrounding the teeth. The two most common periodontal diseases are:

Major causes of tooth loss in seniors: Gingivitis 

The early stages of gum disease are distinguished by redness of the gums, swelling, and bleeding during brushing. Acute gingivitis is frequently caused by an infection, microorganisms, or trauma. Plaque that covers the teeth and gums is connected with chronic inflammation of the gum tissue around the teeth. Gingivitis was formerly considered to be the beginning of a persistent degenerative process that culminated in the loss of both gum and bone tissue around the teeth. Effective personal oral hygiene techniques can now be used to reverse gingivitis.

Gingivitis
Gingivitis

Major causes of tooth loss in seniors: Periodontitis 

Periodontitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the bone and tissues of the teeth.

Periodontitis occurs when gum disease affects the bone and supporting tissue and is defined by the creation of pockets or gaps between the tooth and gums. This may result in chronic periodontal damage, resulting in tooth loosening or loss.

One of the early difficulties in detecting periodontal disease is that it cannot produce discomfort and might proceed unnoticed. Bleeding gums during tooth brushing may be the sole indicator in the early stages; as the disease progresses and the gums degrade, the bleeding may cease and there may be no further obvious evidence until the teeth begin to feel loose. The periodontal disease responds to treatments in the majority of cases, and while the deterioration is mostly permanent, its advancement can be slowed with dental treatment.

The pace of progression varies, and research has revealed a link to other variables such as weakened immune systems, diabetes, HIV infection, leukemia, and Down syndrome.

Factors That Affect Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is exacerbated by smoking and diabetes. Periodontal health has also been linked to diet and stress. This might simply be because people who are stressed are less likely to practice excellent dental hygiene on a routine basis. The majority of people may easily avoid gum disease by eliminating plaque from their teeth on a daily basis.

Periodontal disease has been related to an increased vulnerability to systemic disorders including cardiovascular disease, infective endocarditis (an infection in the heart valves or endocardium), bacterial pneumonia, and diabetes, as if you needed another reason to brush and floss on a regular basis.

Nutritional Supplements

A good diet is frequently emphasized, but did you know that, in addition to all of the other linked health issues, a lack of vitamins and minerals can cause tooth loss? A calcium-deficient diet might raise the risk of tooth loss, and eating too many sugar, acid, or carbohydrate-rich meals can unwittingly harm your teeth and gums. A lack of sufficient nutrition can have a severe impact on the mouth, teeth, and gums, increasing the risk of gum disease and other oral health concerns.

Unhealthy Habits

According to statistics, smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to have tooth loss. Other unhealthy behaviors like consuming alcohol, opening packages with your teeth, or biting ice and hard candies can weaken or shatter your teeth at any age, but the risk factors grow as you get older.

Bad habits weaken or shatter your teeth at any age
Bad habits weaken or shatter your teeth at any age and cause tooth loss

How seniors can prevent tooth loss?

Based on the NIDCR, around 27% of seniors over the age of 65 have no remaining teeth. According to a CW Douglas’s research, 35.4 million persons in the United States used dentures in 2000, and that figure is expected to rise to 37.9 million by 2020. As reported by the Silberg Center for Dental Science, tooth loss among seniors has a variety of consequences, including a negative impact on their daily life. 

As a result, in your golden years, it is preferable to employ natural and non-invasive methods to strengthen your teeth. Similar to the various methods for ensuring that children clean their teeth, there are particular limits that elders should follow in order to maintain their dental health and, more significantly, to avoid tooth loss.

Keep an eye on what you eat

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, eating or drinking too many sweet or starchy foods not only feeds you but also the germs in your teeth. When sugars in your mouth come into touch with plaque, the resultant acids can destroy your teeth for up to 20 minutes after you eat. If this continues for an extended period of time, the enamel coating your teeth can deteriorate, potentially leading to tooth loss. As a result, eating well as you become older is critical. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, green and black tea, sugarless chewing gum, and fluoride-containing meals are examples of such foods. All of them supply important nutrients and minerals to your teeth, keeping them healthy.

Keep an eye on what you eat to prevent tooth loss
Keep an eye on what you eat to prevent tooth loss

Stop smoking

The NIDCR’s proven observatory studies indicate that older seniors who smoke are more likely to have fewer or no remaining teeth throughout time. According to the CDC, smoking weakens your body’s immunity, making it more difficult for gum disease to recover. When this gum disease progresses to periodontitis, it can destroy the bone and tissue that keeps your teeth in place, causing them to fall out. Assuming that the longer you live, the more you smoke, there is a strong probability that your choppers will suffer as a result of your addiction; you must quit smoking.

Replace missing teeth and go to the dental clinic more frequently

Many findings indicate that if there are gaps between teeth, they eventually migrate out of position. Because such changes are slow, you may not perceive them, yet they weaken the teeth and the gums. This implies that if you’ve already lost a tooth or two, you should visit a dentist every ounce to avoid more loss. Also, doctors recommend seeing a dentist every six months, but because older teeth are more vulnerable, you should go more frequently.

Aging gracefully does not come naturally, but requires effort. While reducing tooth loss, you should consider eating properly, preventing gum disease, and giving up bad habits like smoking. The advantages of having healthy teeth include avoiding the expensive expense of replacement and being able to consume hard foods even in old age.

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