5 Changes in Your Lifestyle and Habits That Can Contribute to Tooth Loss
Avoid tooth loss by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Tooth loss is among the most common dental issues, and it only becomes more prevalent with age, largely due to certain habits and lifestyle changes over the years. By addressing these key areas, you can protect your natural teeth. However, various restorative dentistry treatments also help those with tooth loss.
1. Dietary Shifts
Your diet is closely related to your oral health, and any major changes can have a serious impact on your teeth and gums.
One of the most prominent threats is sugary and acidic foods. The former promote tooth decay by nourishing the acid-secreting bacteria in your mouth, the latter by directly exposing your teeth to acid that wears away protective enamel.
Knowing what foods to avoid is important, but so is making sure you’re getting proper nutrition. Calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin C all help support strong teeth and healthy gums. They’re found in many foods, but top sources include dairy products, dark leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli.
Nutrition and tooth loss make a two-way street. Patients with missing teeth who are unable to chew properly can find themselves on restricted diets, and this in turn can restrict their nutrient intake, contributing to other health conditions.
2. Declining Oral Hygiene Habits
Keeping up a solid oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing and flossing is essential for preventing tooth decay and gum disease. However, you may find yourself drifting away from established routines at times. No matter how busy you are, it’s vital that you stick to it.
If you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque deposits will start to build up, meaning higher bacteria levels. Eventually, that plaque will harden into tartar, which you can’t remove with regular brushing and flossing. Only a professional teeth cleaning can remove tartar buildup.
3. Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Lifestyle Factors
There are many lifestyle factors that can impact your oral health over the course of years or decades. Tobacco and alcohol are among the most serious.
Tobacco drastically increases your risk of oral cancer, whether chewed, smoked, or used in other forms. It also leaves you more susceptible to gum disease.
Alcohol is another potential cause of oral cancer. In the short term, it also increases your risk of cavities, especially when included in sugary, acidic, or carbonated beverages. Furthermore, alcohol consumption can contribute to dry mouth, which reduces your natural protection against gum disease.
4. Wear and Tear From Daily Habits
Over the years, seemingly innocuous habits can contribute to your risk of tooth loss. Biting your fingernails, using your teeth to open packaging, and similar activities can wear down enamel or cause sudden cracks and chips.
Teeth grinding (bruxism) is another factor that can lead to deterioration over time, along with contributing to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Stress, anxiety, and other factors can result in teeth-grinding, potentially leading to tooth loss. A simple custom nightguard can provide protection from this issue.
5. Medical Conditions and Medications
A variety of medical conditions can increase your risk of tooth loss or coincide with common risk factors for tooth loss.
Diabetes is a prime example, as it significantly increases the rate of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if untreated. Any condition that affects the immune system can also make you more susceptible to tooth infection.
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications. You may experience reduced saliva production, resulting in higher rates of tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva has natural antibiotic properties, which means bacteria can grow more rapidly when your saliva production is reduced.
How Restorative Dentistry Can Help When Tooth Loss Occurs
Prevention is the best course when dealing with tooth loss, but there are options for patients with missing teeth to restore the appearance, function, and health of their smiles. A wide range of restorative dentistry treatments are available for different cases.
Depending on your specific needs, dental implants, bridges, and dentures are all potential tooth replacement solutions. They can improve your ability to eat and speak naturally, prevent further dental issues, and let you enjoy a beautiful smile and the self-confidence that comes with it.
If you have missing teeth or teeth showing signs of decay or damage, the best time to see a dentist is now. While many treatments are available, you’ll have the best outcome and the widest range of options by acting quickly.
Find the right solution to restore your oral health and quality of life.
Concerned about the impact tooth loss can have on your life and looking for a dentist near Omaha? The Tooth Doc provides preventive care to protect your teeth, as well as restorative dentistry and tooth replacement options that can improve your quality of life if you’re living with missing teeth. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about your options.