Excellent oral hygiene is your most powerful ally in the fight against adult tooth loss, but it turns out that some people have a greater risk of losing one or more teeth than others. According to the Journal of Periodontology, there are nine key factors that increase your risk of losing teeth as a result of gum disease. Dr. Ryan Hussong, a general dentist offering dental implants and dentures in Polk City, IA discusses these threats to your oral health. Some of them may surprise you.
Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease and Adult Tooth Loss
First, the most obvious threats:
Poor oral hygiene, such as never using dental floss or a toothbrush, or using them less frequently than recommended. Brush at least twice daily, and floss at least once daily. If you eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, it’s best to brush your teeth afterwards to ward off tooth decay.
Skipping dental exams and professional cleaning will make it all but impossible to determine whether your oral health is heading down a slippery slope. When you visit Cornerstone Dental, Dr. Hussong will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth for signs of potential problems, such as oral cancer and periodontal disease.
Chewing or smoking tobacco wreaks havoc on your oral health, staining your teeth and your tongue. The problems go beyond cosmetic issues, though. Smoking dries out your gums and tissues, making you more susceptible to gum recession, tooth decay, and gum disease. It also increases your risk of developing mouth, throat, lip, and tongue cancers.
Risk factors outside of your control:
Once you hit the age of 35 and older, your risk increases dramatically. Some gum recession is part of the natural aging process, which escalates as you enter middle adulthood.
Males face a higher risk of adult tooth loss than women do.
Medical conditions that increase risk of tooth loss:
Patients with diabetes are more likely to lose one or more teeth due to periodontal disease. This may be because diabetic patients are more susceptible to infections. The risk is even greater in patients who do not have their diabetes well-controlled. Advanced gum disease can potentially affect blood sugar levels, creating further complications.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, makes you a prime target for periodontal disease. A recent study suggests that a strong link exists between gum disease and hypertension in post-menopausal women. This could be because people who eat unhealthy diets and live sedentary lifestyles are more likely to have high blood pressure. An unhealthy diet would, in most cases, be high in sugar and carbohydrates, which are linked to tooth decay.
A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis has also been linked to adult tooth loss. Arthritis and gum disease are both inflammatory disorders, and researchers have determined that a protein produced by the bacteria that causes gum disease can exacerbate RA. Studies are currently underway to determine whether a more concrete link exists between the two conditions.
Another interesting finding:
The Journal of Periodontology also reports that you are far more likely to lose your front teeth to gum disease than you are to lose teeth near the back of your mouth. Dr. Hussong notes that could be because so many people concentrate on their molars and back teeth when brushing.
Replacing Teeth Lost to Gum Disease
If you have lost one or more teeth as a result of injury or decay, you have options. Life with missing teeth is difficult, interfering with the way you eat and speak. Tooth loss can even alter your appearance, making you look older and giving your cheeks a sunken-in appearance. Dr. Hussong offers dental implants in Polk City, IA, as well as partial and complete dentures.
Has gum disease claimed your teeth? To learn more about dental prosthetics, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental at (515) 684-9001. We serve patients living in Alleman, Ankeny, Bondurant, Grimes, Des Moines, and the surrounding cities.