Can You Keep Your Teeth for Life?

Attractive older couple learning about tooth lossIn our last post, we discussed the three leading causes of adult tooth loss in America and provided a few measures you can take to prevent losing a tooth to gum disease, tooth decay, or accidental injury. Dental experts have identified several factors that can increase your risk of tooth loss and, in some cases, preventive measures may not always be enough. However, you can control some of those risks and doing so increases your chances of keeping your teeth for life exponentially.

Risk Factors Within Your Control

Primary controllable risk factors for losing your teeth to gum disease, decay, or injury include:

  • Poor dental hygiene. Just over 50% of women and less than 50% of men brush their teeth twice a day in the U.S. Only 50% of us, regardless of gender, floss our teeth on a daily basis.
  • Not visiting the dentist. After at-home dental hygiene, regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings and checkups remove harmful plaque buildup and keep a close eye on emerging oral health problems.
  • Smoking (or using other tobacco products). Even if you gave up smoking years ago, you might still be at a higher risk for tooth loss due to gum disease. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry reports that for every ten years of smoking, men lose an average 2.9 teeth while women lose an average 1.5 teeth.
  • Diet. The bacteria living in your mouth love sugar. If you eat a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, those oral bacteria are thriving and creating conditions conducive to decay and gum inflammation.
  • Not wearing a mouthguard. Whether you’re a black belt in Taekwondo or you like to play the odd pickup game of basketball at the gym, you should wear a mouthguard or run the risk of losing one or more teeth to sports injury.

Hedge Your Bets

If you do nothing else to improve your chances for keeping your teeth throughout your lifetime, take the time to brush and floss your teeth according to ADA guidelines (it takes a little over 5 minutes per day and the materials needed are inexpensive) and visit the dentist, even if you only make it to the office once a year.

About Shawn Hofkes, DDS

With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to provide dental implant services for patients living with tooth loss from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.