In the previous blog, we discussed the importance of baby teeth and keeping them. Baby teeth are an essential stepping-stone in a child’s life to help them grow and develop a functioning mouth. Unlike baby teeth, adult teeth are not replaced naturally if they are lost.
Today at Hartwell Dentistry we are going to discuss what happens when we loose teeth, how it happens and what are the consequences to our body and lifestyle as a result.
We often think of teeth as individual components – however, each individual tooth is part of a complex system that functions together. Thus, the loss of one tooth can affect the whole system, and the ability and strength of its neighboring teeth.
Many people know that the purpose of teeth is to aid with eating: the anterior (front) teeth help cut/tear food and the posterior (back) teeth assist with grinding/chewing food into pieces that can be swallowed and digested properly.
However teeth also serve a purpose outside of eating. Adult teeth help support the height of the face; this has a flow-on effect, playing a role in a person’s looks and aesthetics. Loss of teeth can mean that facial tissues including the lips are left unsupported and therefore sag, giving an “aged” look. Often people lose their back teeth (molars) first. These changes can consequently lead to spacing between the teeth, increase pressure on the front teeth and can cause the front teeth to splay more forward.
There are many reasons for tooth loss. Fortunately, tooth loss can be prevented!
- Oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene can often lead to oral diseases such as decay and periodontitis (gum disease), which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Developing good habits of brushing and flossing daily helps remove disease-causing bacteria from the mouth. Regular dental checks and cleans at least every 6 months would allow for prevention and treatment of disease at an early stage.
- Nutrition: Food that is high in sugar, carbs and acids create an environment that allows disease-causing bacteria to thrive in the mouth. Limiting these foods helps minimise the amount of bacteria growing hence decreasing the chances of disease.
- Injury: Front teeth are at risk of being knocked out playing sports. When playing sports (even during training!) it is best to wear a mouthguard made and fitted by a dental professional.
- Habits: Grinding teeth and biting nails can cause teeth to fracture. Smoking can also contribute to gum disease and oral cancers. Having regular dental checks can help you identify these habits that you would not have thought to cause tooth damage! By identifying such habits, a dental professional can help you find ways to eliminate or reduce the effects of these habits
Tooth loss however still occurs. Now that your understand the consequences of loosing teeth, what will you do to help your oral health? If you are one of those many people who have already suffered from tooth loss, there are options for you. In next weeks blog at Hartwell Dentistry we will be discussing what options you have to replace what you have lost.