Adult Tooth Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Feb 14, 2023

Adult Tooth Loss: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Losing teeth is a common part of a child’s experience, as baby teeth fall out to make room for their permanent set. Tooth loss in adults is more serious and can impact eating, speech, and self-esteem.

Your smile potentially includes 32 teeth, though many adults lose four when wisdom teeth present problems, so 28 can be considered a full complement. Yet, on average, adults between 20 and 64 have 25.5 teeth remaining, while 2.2% of the population have no natural teeth left.

Is adult tooth loss inevitable? The quick answer is no, it’s not. A level of care is, however, required, both at home and in the dentist’s chair. The team at Los Altos Family Smiles can help you keep your teeth healthy and happy. If tooth loss does occur, we’re also standing by with tooth replacement services. 

Reasons for tooth loss

The number one reason for tooth loss in adults is gum disease. Also called periodontal disease, there are many risk factors for this condition, including: 

  • Smoking
  • Getting older (35 and up)
  • Little or no professional dental care
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Gender (men are more likely to develop gum disease)
  • Certain medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, and diabetes

You can also lose teeth to trauma from car accidents, sports injuries, or other accidents. Tooth decay is another culprit, including teeth that have several fillings. 

Overcoming tooth loss

For centuries, dentures were the go-to tooth replacement method. These are still used today with remarkable flexibility, including full and partial plates, dental bridges, and hybrid systems. The new standard of care, however, uses dental implants. 

Dentures sit on top of your gums, so they replace the crown of your tooth. Implants go one step further, securing a crown into the bone of your jaw. This replaces an important interaction between tooth and jaw that prevents the loss of bone mass. Denture wearers often experience fit changes as jawbones change shape without tooth root stimulation. 

We’re proud to offer dental implant solutions to our patients. It’s a permanent tooth replacement method that’s suitable for many adults with tooth loss. 

Tooth loss prevention

Though dental implants represent an important advance in tooth replacement technology, the best solution for tooth loss remains preventing it in the first place. While you can’t guard against being male, getting older, or avoiding all accidents, there’s much you can do to avoid or reduce gum disease. 

Tooth loss prevention starts with wellness checks. Visiting our office twice a year for dental check-ups and cleaning keeps your gums in great condition, while also providing a chance for dental care professionals to search for signs of future problems. 

The next step is a consistent home care routine, including brushing and flossing on a daily basis in line with your oral care needs. When gingivitis or periodontitis begins, we may ask you to take special steps or visit the office more frequently until it’s under control. 

Finally, don’t put your teeth at risk. If you play a sport where physical contact is possible, wear a mouthguard to spread the force of unexpected impact. Don’t open bottle caps or loosen knots with your teeth. Take care when eating popcorn or cherry pies, where an unpopped kernel or hidden pit may sneak up on you. Chewing ice may be refreshing on a hot day, but it can crack your teeth. 

Keep your dental care on track with a visit to Los Altos Family Smiles. Schedule your appointment by phone or online today.