The loss of teeth is a common problem faced by many people throughout the world. Although modern dental techniques and practices have led to retention of teeth for a longer period among the older population of the developed countries, this problem is still growing at an alarming rate in the underdeveloped nations, where insufficient measures are being taken to ensure dental hygiene among children and adults. Researchers have attributed various reasons for premature and senile tooth loss.
Adult and Senile Tooth Loss
Causes of Tooth Loss
Poor Oral Hygiene
The most important, and foremost cause, of premature tooth loss is poor maintenance of oral hygiene. If brushing is discontinued for several days or weeks, a thick and adherent layer of food debris and bacterial breakdown products, known as dental plaque, forms over the teeth. With the passage of time, dental plaque becomes mineralized and converts into a highly calcified dental calculus, an ideal environment for the growth and development of various disease causing bacteria.
This condition pertains to severe inflammation of the gums, and is linked to certain oral pathogenic bacteria that are harbored within dental plaque and calculus. Symptoms include foul smelling, sore, and bleeding gums. Gingivitis can be reversed by adopting oral health practices, and by prescription of antibiotics in severe cases.
Periodontitis refers to the inflammation of the structure surrounding the teeth, such as the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone. The most common pathway of this infection is the presence of carious lesions, in the teeth, that can progress to the periodontal region and cause inflammation. Similarly, long standing gingival infections can lead to development of periodontal pathologies, and severity can be enhanced in the case of heavy plaque or calculus deposits on teeth. Symptoms include pain on biting, and reduction in thickness of the alveolar bone and/or the periodontal ligament, which can lead to the loosening and eventual loss of teeth.
In certain medical and dental conditions, the quality and quantity of bones is reduced, and the rate of bone destruction overtakes the rate of new bone formation. Under these conditions, the jaw bone is insufficient to serve as a firm anchor for the roots of the teeth. As a result, the teeth become mobile in the oral cavity and are easily lost.
Excessive smoking has been linked to loss of alveolar bone in the oral cavity, in addition to high risk of oral cancer incidence, and other untoward dental conditions. The conditioned is worsened if oral hygiene maintenance is not up to the mark.
Para-functional Dental Habits
Para-functional dental habits, such as tooth grinding or bruxism, has been shown to exert excessive pressure on teeth even during sleep. The huge amount of force generated can lead to gradual loosening and avulsion of teeth.
Senile Tooth Loss
With advancement in age, effectiveness of the reparatory biological systems are greatly reduced. Consequently, a reduction in the height and width of residual alveolar bone is observed, even in the absence of medical or dental pathology. Contemporary medicine has managed to slow down senile changes in the body, but has thus far failed to completely stop it. Hence, that although the life of natural dentition has been tremendously enhanced, age related tooth loss still occurs.
It can be concluded that root cause for tooth mobility and loss is apathy to importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. It should be emphasized here that,despite the development of excellent tooth replacement options, dentists still have not found a substitute that performs the same functions as the natural teeth. It is imperative that you value your natural teeth and make every effort to preserve them. Brushing your teeth twice daily, in conjunction with flossing and use of a mouthwash, can be extremely helpful in ensuring the long life of your natural teeth.