Sabrina E. Mickel DDS, Inc. Logo

Adult Tooth Loss Is Common: Here's How to Reduce Your Risk

Sep 01, 2023
Adult Tooth Loss Is Common: Here's How to Reduce Your Risk
Are adult teeth meant to last for a lifetime? If so, why is tooth loss so common in adults of all ages? Read on to learn more about the causes of tooth loss.

Your teeth are covered in the hardest substance found in your body: enamel. However, enamel, as hard as it is, is no match for the bacteria that feed on carbohydrates. The byproducts of these bacteria are acids strong enough to corrode your enamel.

Inflammation is another cause of tooth loss. While inflammation doesn’t have an impact on the enamel, it does make your gums bleed and loosen pockets that hold your teeth. When your teeth are loose, bacteria get into those pockets, and your teeth are more likely to fall off even if they’re structurally intact.

Teeth are meant to last a lifetime. However, very few people in the modern age maintain their teeth up until old age. 

If you want to stop bacteria and inflammation from ruining your smile, read on. Below, we asked Sabrina E. Mickel, DDS, our expert in Beachwood, Ohio, to explain what you can do to reduce your risk.

Stop feeding the bad bacteria in your mouth

Much like your gut, your mouth is filled with bacteria. Some of these are beneficial, while some are not so much. 

Unfortunately, when you use alcohol-based mouthwash, you may kill off both the good and the bad bacteria. If you just want to starve the bad bacteria, avoid large amounts of carbohydrates. 

For the first time in history, we have access to a lot of carbohydrates throughout each year. Our fruits are bred for sweetness and size, and so are our vegetables. Not to mention, refrigeration makes them available in every season. 

In addition to fruits and vegetables that barely resemble what we used to find in the wilderness, we’re also consuming more processed breads, pastries, and sweets. 

Excess carbohydrate intake contributes to dental caries and can raise your risk for tooth loss. 

Lower your inflammation levels 

Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, can advance into periodontitis. Periodontitis is a condition in which your gums pull away from your teeth, causing your teeth to loosen and increasing your chances of experiencing tooth loss. 

One reason behind gum inflammation is poor hygiene. However, inflammation can appear from other sources as well, including the following:

  • Drinking alcohol regularly
  • Smoking cigarettes 
  • Eating a diet of highly processed foods
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Suffering from an autoimmune disease 
  • Suffering from diabetes 
  • Living with chronic stress 

While hygiene is still the main driving factor behind gum disease, other risk factors also play a role. 

Find out if you’re at risk for tooth loss 

During your oral exam, Dr. Mickel can look for signs of plaque and inflammation in your gums. Regular dental cleanings can help with damage caused by both bacteria and inflammation. If you catch gum disease early, you can prevent tooth loss.