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Adult Tooth Loss Is Common: Here's How to Avoid It

Mar 14, 2024
Adult Tooth Loss Is Common: Here's How to Avoid It
Worried about losing your teeth as you grow older? You have good reason; millions of older Americans have lost one or more teeth. Learn how to protect against adult tooth loss and make sure your teeth stay where they belong — in your smile. 

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered what your smile might look like in the future and whether you’ll still have a full set of teeth as you grow older? It's a thought that crosses many people’s minds — and for good reason. 

Adult tooth loss is a reality faced by a significant number of people, and it can be a source of anxiety and discomfort. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by the age of 50, the average American has lost 12 teeth.

This underscores how common adult tooth loss is, but it’s important to remember that you can take steps to prevent this issue. At Proud to Smile Dentistry in Bernardsville, New Jersey, our expert team is here to help you do just that. 

Led by Patricia Swaintek-Lamb, DMD, we’re committed to helping our patients understand the causes of adult tooth loss, which range from gum disease and tooth decay to dental trauma and lifestyle choices. Knowing what leads to tooth loss is the first step in safeguarding your smile. 

But awareness isn't enough. Implementing practical, preventative measures — including regular professional dental care — can make all the difference in maintaining a healthy, full set of teeth. Here are a few actionable tips that can help you protect your smile.

1. Practice good oral hygiene

The cornerstone of preventing tooth loss is good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily are non-negotiable habits if you're serious about your dental health. 

These practices remove dental plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease — the two leading causes of tooth loss. But it's not just about brushing and flossing; how you do it matters, too. 

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and take care to reach all surfaces of your teeth, including the back molars. This is crucial for keeping all of your teeth for years to come. 

And remember that a gentle but thorough brushing technique protects your enamel and gums from damage while still removing plaque and other substances, like bacteria, that increase your risk of tooth loss.

2. Eat a dental-friendly diet  

What you eat plays a significant role in your dental health. Many foods and beverages we all enjoy can destroy your smile and increase your risk of tooth loss, while others can preserve your teeth.  

Foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, like bread or potato chips, feed the bacteria in your mouth, leading to fast plaque buildup, increased enamel attacks, and eventual tooth decay. Conversely, a dental-friendly diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods  can provide essential nutrients that promote oral health. 

For example, calcium and phosphorus, found in dark leafy greens, helps strengthen your teeth, reducing your risk of dental decay. Crunchy fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, act as “natural toothbrushes” to clean your teeth and stimulate your gums. 

3. Avoid habits that harm your teeth

Certain lifestyle choices can significantly affect your risk of tooth loss. Smoking and using tobacco products are among the top culprits, contributing to gum disease and oral cancer. 

In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can dry out your mouth, reducing saliva flow and increasing your risk of decay. It's also important to avoid using your teeth as tools to open packages or crack nuts, as this can lead to chips and fractures. 

Finally, not protecting your teeth from injury by wearing a mouthguard during sports and seeking treatment for teeth grinding can also increase your risk of damage or decay and eventual tooth loss. 

4. Get regular dental care

Last but certainly not least, regular professional dental care is essential if you want to preserve your teeth. Regular cleanings and check-ups allow our team to catch potential issues early, often before they escalate into major problems. 

These visits are also an opportunity for Dr. Swaintek-Lamb and our team to remove tartar, a hardened form of plaque that can't be removed with brushing and flossing alone. Plus, your visit is a time when your provider can give you personalized advice on how to improve your oral hygiene routine, addressing any specific concerns you may have.

Your partner in optimal oral health 

At Proud to Smile Dentistry, we understand the importance of a comprehensive approach to dental health. Whether you're due for a routine cleaning or have specific dental concerns, our team is here to support your journey towards maintaining a healthy, vibrant smile. 

Take the first step in keeping tooth loss at bay and schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Proud to Smile Dentistry in Bernardsville, New Jersey, today.