Many senior citizens are concerned about losing teeth as they age. Over time and as people age, the teeth naturally start to decline. This is partly because oral health also declines as we age. However, losing teeth does not have to be part of growing old.
There are many steps you can take as well as preventative measures to make sure your teeth do not fall out even when you get older. Make sure to know the reasons why teeth commonly fall out so that you can avoid the most common causes.
This is the most common reason why older people often lose teeth. Periodontal disease wears down the supporting tissues that hold your teeth in place. This can eventually cause teeth to fall out.
This disease is more common among older people because tartar and plaque have grown in the mouth and teeth. Some older people also find it harder to take care of their mouths and teeth which results in poor oral hygiene.
If you have periodontal disease, you will probably need to visit the dentist more often than twice a year. You might also need to get an electric toothbrush or a water cleaner for the gums.
This is when your gums become very inflamed. You might notice signs of redness, swelling, and bleeding. If you suddenly have these symptoms you might be dealing with an infection or a trauma to the gumline.
Gingivitis can also develop slowly over time if oral hygiene is not practiced and the plague that covers the teeth and gums continues to grow. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed before it leads to periodontal disease and loss of teeth.
Your dentist will be able to tell if you have gingivitis and will be able to give you oral hygiene tips to make sure you reverse the swollen and inflamed gums. You will need to make sure you are brushing and flossing twice daily to remove all the plaque that has accumulated over the gums.
Your dentist might also ask you to come for checkups more often to monitor your progress.
Gum disease can also affect the bone and supporting tissue around the gums rather than just the gums themselves.
Pockets and spaces form around the teeth and gums which allows bacteria and plaque to surround the teeth. If it’s not treated, you will notice that your teeth become looser and may eventually fall out.
Periodontitis doesn’t always cause symptoms which is why it’s very important to get regular checkups at the dentist. The dentist and dental hygienists will be able to tell if you have early symptoms when they check your gums and teeth.
Inadequate nutrition affects every part of the body including the teeth and gums. Diets lacking in calcium are the major concern when it comes to teeth loss. You are also more likely to suffer from tooth loss if you consume too much sugar or acid.
The best way to avoid this is to make sure you are always eating a diet with proper nutrients. Make sure you are getting a good variety of vegetables, fruits, carbs, and protein.
There has been tons of research on the effects of smoking and tobacco use on the teeth. Tobacco can damage your teeth and gums making it more likely for you to lose teeth as you get older.
If you are still smoking or using tobacco in old age, try to quit as soon as possible. If you no longer smoke but did so at some point in your life, just make sure to let your dentist know so that they can be on the lookout for any potential issues.
There are many unhealthy habits you might have that can cause your teeth to weaken over time and eventually fall out as you get older. Drinking alcohol can weaken the teeth because of the high acid content. Make sure you are limiting your weekly drinks to prevent tooth decline.
Since teeth are weaker as you age, opening packages with your teeth or chewing ice and hard candy make it more likely for your teeth to break and possibly fall out.
Genetics plays a role in gum recession. If you have a parent or sibling that has gum recession as they got older, you are also more likely to have it. If you have a history of gum recession in the family, you need to take even greater care when practicing oral hygiene and making sure you visit the dentist twice a year.
Incorrect Brushing Techniques
Many people are surprised to find out they have teeth or gum issues because they may brush and floss daily. The techniques you use when brushing matter though. Brushing with too much force is the main problem.
Brushing harshly can make the gum line inflamed and make it more likely the gum line will recede over time.
If you grind your teeth, you will have excessive pressure on the teeth and gums. This can cause teeth to become cracked, lost, or chipped. It can also cause your gum line to recede.
Your dentist will be able to tell if you have signs of teeth grinding. They may suggest you wear a mouth guard at night to prevent you from grinding your teeth.
Crooked teeth or teeth that are not in the right place can put pressure on the gums and cause them to recede eventually leading to tooth loss.
What are the Effects of Tooth Loss?
Losing teeth as you age affects more than just your mouth. Some seniors report tooth loss as also affecting the rest of their physical health as well as mental health. This is why it’s extremely important to take care of your teeth and mouth from a young age.
Tooth loss can also eventually cause jawbone deterioration. The bone where the teeth are missing can degrade and become weaker. This can also cause the teeth around the lost tooth to start to weaken and eventually fall out as well.
You might also notice your teeth begin to shift once you have lost a tooth. This is because the teeth will naturally shift to try and fill in empty space. Once teeth begin to shift though it can cause misalignment which can lead to problems chewing and eating.
Facial Appearance Change
One thing people also find concerning is that their face changes. You might notice the shape of your chin or jawbone changes if you are losing teeth. This can even cause people to look older than they are.
It might also cause some people to lose self-confidence if they see something different than what they are used to in the mirror.
Preventing Tooth Loss
Some people think that losing teeth as they age is inevitable. Losing teeth does not have to be part of your aging process though if you take proper care of your mouth and gums. While some tips for tooth loss were already covered in this article, here are some more tips for making sure your mouth is always healthy.
Replace Teeth as Soon as Possible
Wear A Night Guard
If you are grinding your teeth, get fitted for a night guard right away. This can ensure your teeth do not become chipped or cracked which can eventually lead to tooth loss.
You might also want to wear a mouthguard if you are active and playing sports. Some people even choose to wear mouth guards when they are cycling in case they fall.
Don’t Use Teeth as Tools
Never use your teeth to open things like bottles, lids, or packages. Even if your teeth seem strong, there is always a chance they can break when used to open things. If you do this regularly, you will also notice signs of tooth loss and breakage.
Always Go to the Dentist
Many people do not go to the dentist twice a year as they should. While it might not seem like a big deal when you are young, it’s important to go when you are scheduled so that any issues can be addressed early.
The dentist can also address if you need more regular teeth cleanings to ensure that you are getting the care and maintenance that you need.
Limit Acidic Drinks
Drinking daily soda and alcohol can cause your teeth to become weak and decay early. Try to only drink acidic drinks a few times a week or on special occasions.