Most people assume that losing your teeth in the latter years of your life is normal and just a regular part of aging. To an extent, it is, but you do not have to lose your teeth willingly. In fact, good dental hygiene can help you maintain the longevity of your adult teeth for years to come. To help explain why tooth loss, aging and acceptance are widespread concepts, here are the facts and how you can prevent and treat tooth loss.
Some Aspects of Aging That DO Affect Tooth Loss
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, both of these can affect tooth loss later in life. This has more to do with the circulation of your blood in and around your teeth than it does with age. (Likewise, problems with your circulatory system unrelated to these two health conditions can also cause tooth loss.) Teeth are living things consisting of nerves, bone marrow and blood vessels. Diabetes and hypertension can weaken or destroy the blood vessels that supply the teeth with needed nutrients, thereby killing them. If you are able to avoid hypertension and diabetes well into old age, then you are capable of keeping most of your original teeth too.
Aspects of Aging That Have Nothing to Do With Tooth Loss
Some people falsely assume that osteoporosis, or lack of bone density, impacts how long you can keep your teeth. This simply is not so and does not apply. However, corrosive foods with sugars, acids and starches do put holes in tooth dentin and in the teeth themselves. Teeth that are in constant need of repair eventually cannot be fixed anymore without a crown or bridge, and that is when you are susceptible to tooth loss. Since this can happen at any age but is only discussed with at length with middle-aged and elderly people, it leads to the misconception that tooth loss of this kind only applies to older people.
When You Do Lose a Tooth or Two
It is nothing to get overly anxious about. You can talk with your dentist as to the possible causes for the tooth loss and he or she can suggest what you can do to prevent any more teeth from loosening or falling out. You can also visit with a prosthodontist, who can supply you with veneers, implant teeth, and dental crowns to replace the missing teeth and protect the teeth you have left. Many dentists, such as the dentists at BayView Dental Arts, provide these services on a convenient schedule and reasonable rates.