As we age many factors contribute to our overall health. Taking care of our teeth by brushing, flossing and routine checkups are the easiest ways to maintain a lifetime of healthy smiles.
So why do we lose teeth during our lifetime?
Tooth enamel tends to wear away with aging, making the teeth vulnerable to damage and decay. Tooth loss is the major reason that older people cannot chew as well. When older people lose their teeth, the portion of the jaw bone that held those teeth in place does not maintain its previous height and thus appears to waste away.
Teeth in Adulthood
As adults, the lifestyle choices we make ultimately determine the health of our teeth, not old age. Different factors contribute to poor teeth and can result in loss over time.
-Infections in the mouth, nose or sinuses.
–Excessive wear – grinding / clenching, using your teeth as a bottle opener, etc…
-Illness – Diabetes, Cancer, chronic liver or kidney disease, etc…
-Periodontitis – gum disease, the #1 cause of adult tooth loss.
-Loss of bone mass – a contributor to periodontal disease.
-Xerostomia (dry mouth) – lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva protects teeth from harmful bacteria and acids that cause plaque and tartar build up and lead to cavities.
A modest decrease in saliva production occurs with age and can be decreased further by some prescribed drugs. The decrease in saliva causes dry mouth. The gums may get thinner and begin to recede. Xerostomia and receding gums increase the likelihood of cavities.
The life of your teeth are mostly affected by poor hygiene and prevention of tooth loss can be as simple as proper home care and regular check ups with