By the time a person reaches 21 years of age, they have a total of 32 adult teeth. The last 4 teeth to emerge are called "wisdom teeth" and many people have those removed because these teeth can push other teeth around and cause bite problems that can lead to pain and tooth damage.
So, the average 21 year old American starts their adult life with 28 teeth but by the time they reach 44 years old, 69% have lost at least one tooth, by the age of 50 they have lost 12 teeth (including wisdom teeth) and by age 74, 26% have lost all of their teeth.
What Are Ways People Lose Teeth?
Losing teeth is not part of the natural aging process. Most people lose teeth for the following reasons:
Tooth trauma - There are a variety of ways for teeth to become traumatized and either get knocked out or damaged including:
- Using teeth to tear open bags, holding things in your mouth or opening bottles can all lead to tooth loss.
- An accident that causes a tooth to be knocked out or become damaged beyond repair.
- Grinding or clenching teeth can put over 800 pounds of pressure on your teeth that can result in tooth fractures and tooth loss.
An illness - There are certain chronic illnesses that can result in tooth loss.
Cancer, diabetes, immune system diseases (Sjogren’s Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Hashimoto’s Disease, Lupus) and hypertension can contribute to tooth loss.
Other causes for tooth loss - There are other reasons people lose teeth.
Cavities are caused by bacteria that create holes and decay in teeth. When a cavity is left untreated, it can damage the pulp (in the center of a tooth) and when this happens that tooth would need a root canal or extraction.
Smoking and poor nutrition can also contribute to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease - A serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone and is usually caused by poor dental hygiene.
Also known as gum disease, this isn't something that usually happens fast like having a tooth knocked out but it can creep up on you when the early signs are ignored and before you know it bone is destroyed and teeth start falling out. The good news is this type of tooth loss can be prevented!
How can you prevent tooth loss?
Once you lose an adult tooth it never grows back so the best way to prevent tooth loss is to take good care of your teeth!
- Don't use your teeth as a tool for opening and holding things.
- Brush twice per day and floss daily.
- When you have an issue with a tooth, don't put off having a dentist check out the problem.
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned twice per year with regular checkups.
- If you grind your teeth, let your dentist know so they assess the wear on your teeth and provide solutions.
Good oral hygiene and maintaining your teeth can not only keep your smile looking great but will also contribute to overall health. If you already have missing teeth, there are solutions like dental implants, bridges and dentures. Talk to your dentist about which tooth replacement solution is best for you.
When your mouth is healthy and teeth look nice, your smile looks better, you have more confidence and eating the foods you enjoy is easier. Arnold Dentistry is here to help with any concerns or questions you have. Give us a call today for all of your oral health and dental needs! (813) 689-1529
sources: webmd, CDC, NIH