It’s a beautiful summer day outside. You are walking through a park when, out of nowhere, a levitating bowl full of giant pinwheel lollipops appears in front of you. You reach for a particularly colorful one and take a huge chomp out of it. Suddenly, clouds fill the sky and shards of the lollipop fall from your mouth. You look down only to realize it’s your teeth that have all fallen to the ground instead!
Sound like a familiar nightmare? Bad dreams about tooth loss are not uncommon, and neither is the fear of losing your teeth as you age. While it can happen, tooth loss isn’t inevitable. There are certain avoidable conditions that lead to it, and if tooth loss does occur, there are some amazing solutions — like dental implants — that can restore your natural-looking smile to its original state.
Are You at Risk for Tooth Loss?
Tooth loss is not a natural occurrence. The following are some common circumstances that most often lead to the loss of a tooth or teeth.
Tooth trauma: One of the most common causes of tooth loss is trauma caused by impact or unexpected contact with a hard surface. Breaking, chipping, and cracking that leads to a tooth needing to be removed can be caused by a fall, getting hit with a bat or ball while playing sports, or biting down on a hard object, like a hidden seed or shell.
The use of teeth as a tool is another example of how trauma can lead to a tooth extraction. Avoid activities like removing caps, tearing tags, and cutting threads with your teeth. There are tools that are made for these types of jobs, so you can avoid damaging your teeth.
Disease: Poor oral hygiene and nutrition cause the buildup of plaque and tooth decay that leads to periodontal disease. Preserving your teeth means more than just brushing twice a day and flossing; it means taking care of your whole health. You need to maintain a balanced diet, moderate or eliminate activities like drinking alcoholic beverages, and get to those routine dental visits. Periodontal disease doesn’t just put you at risk for tooth loss — it puts your whole health at risk.
Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety are detrimental to many aspects of your health, including your teeth. It can cause you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth during the day, as well as in your sleep. There are many stress-relief techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation that can help. You should also talk to your dental provider about being evaluated for a bite guard to protect you from nighttime clenching and grinding.
Smoking: Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your lungs and your heart, but people don’t realize that it also increases the likelihood of tooth loss. It affects the blood supply to your gums and increases the occurrence and severity of periodontal disease. The risks of tooth loss increase with both traditional and smokeless cigarettes.
The bottom line is that the key to keeping your teeth throughout your lifetime is taking care of your whole health. If tooth loss does occur, don’t despair: Your provider has solutions available that can restore your smile. From tooth implants to a variety of denture options, there is a natural-looking option perfect for you.
To find out more about how to maintain your natural smile, call us today at (360) 695-1515.