Conditions and Habits that lead to Premature Tooth Loss
While it is normal for baby teeth to fall out and be replaced with adult teeth, it is not normal for adult teeth to fall out. Adult tooth loss is a common concern. Despite the fact that adult tooth loss can sometimes be caused by trauma, a majority of the cases of adult tooth loss is due to disease. There are numerous conditions and habits that lead to tooth loss.
An unexpected blow to the mouth during sports commonly results in tooth loss. Rough physical events such as boxing, football, hockey and baseball can leave players with severe tooth trauma that can mean a lost tooth or a loss of multiple teeth. Teeth that are not knocked out, but are severely damaged beyond repair, can also result in adult tooth loss.
Adults can experience tooth trauma from bruxism, or clenching and grinding of the teeth. People with bruxism clench their teeth during the day and tend to grind them at night while they sleep. Clenching and grinding can put more than 800 pounds of pressure against the teeth, which can lead to tooth fractures and eventual tooth loss.
Tooth and gum disease are leading causes for adult tooth loss. If you lose teeth because of disease, it could for a few reasons. One reason is periodontal disease or, as it is more commonly known, gum disease. Gum disease is dubbed the silent disease because it quietly accumulates over time, usually due to poor oral hygiene. By the time it is discovered, it can destroy adult teeth, resulting in permanent tooth loss. The initial stage of periodontal or gum disease is what dentists call gingivitis.
Aside from gum disease, adults can suffer tooth loss from systemic diseases. These types of disease are often chronic illnesses such as cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes and osteomyelitis. These illnesses affect a person’s general health and their mouth differently. For example, people who undergo cancer therapy in the neck and head can experience tooth loss, while diabetics may have tooth loss due to their body’s slow ability to fight infection. While not all systemic diseases are responsible for tooth loss, they have shown to predispose the mouth to conditions that can induce the loss of teeth.