Everybody wants to enjoy a full set of their natural teeth throughout their lifetime, which, unfortunately, is not realistic for many people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than half the adult population between the age of 20 and 64 have all their teeth. Furthermore, the American College of Prosthodontists reports that 36 million Americans have no teeth.
Tooth loss often occurs because of dental decay, but people lose teeth for a variety of other reasons, too. Some get sports injuries, while others don't seek dental treatment in time to save a tooth. Your teeth may be at risk even if you don't realize it. Consider these risk factors of tooth loss that shouldn't be ignored.
Smoking is a well-known culprit in many different health conditions, and it's one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Science Daily reports that the increased risk of tooth loss in smokers is significant. Men are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from tooth loss, while women are 2.5 times more likely to have tooth loss if they are smokers.
The good news is that this risk factor is one that is within your control. Help is available if you cannot quit smoking on your own. Speak to your dentist or primary care physician about how smoking can harm your health and what they recommend to help you quit.
Your ancestors might be responsible for your tooth loss. Both tooth decay and gum disease have a genetic component. Knowing that you are at a greater risk of tooth loss because of your genetic makeup can be a wakeup call to encourage you to do what's within your power to take care of your teeth. Being more likely to have the problem doesn't mean it will happen to you.
Several health conditions can unfortunately put you at risk for tooth loss. If you have diabetes, you are at an increased risk of tooth loss. On the other hand, if you control your diabetes by monitoring your blood sugar, taking insulin or medication as needed, exercising, and eating a diabetic-friendly diet, you are minimizing risks. You should see your dentist often, too.
Other health conditions that place you at an increased risk of tooth loss include having high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis. Whatever your health condition might be, taking great care of yourself can help prevent problems.
If you skip brushing your teeth sometimes, you are putting yourself at a greater risk of tooth loss. The same is true about skipping dental appointments. Any kind of dental care neglect can put you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Since tooth decay and gum disease can directly lead to tooth loss, an unhealthy cycle can begin with casual dental care neglect.
Some risk factors for tooth loss may seem especially unfair, but you should still have the knowledge you need to protect yourself. The Minnesota Department of Health reports that American adults who have a disability are two times more likely to have total tooth loss than those without a disability. Also, disabled adults are 1.1 times more likely to have partial tooth loss.
Finally, keep in mind that you aren't destined to lose your teeth just because you have one or many risk factors for tooth loss. Your daily habits and decision to see your dentist regularly can go a long way to protect your oral health for years to come.
Being proactive about your dental health is the best way to prevent tooth loss. The sooner you are able to get dental issues treated, the better the outcomes are likely to be.