Millions of Americans are missing one or more teeth. The Center For Disease Control reports that one out of four adults over the age of 60 have no natural teeth remaining. While there are various alternatives to replace missing teeth including dental implants, dentures, and bridges, the better alternative is to take good care of your teeth so that you can have your natural teeth as long as possible.
It is common to have congenitally absent teeth. In most cases there will be a baby tooth, but not adult tooth to replace it when the baby tooth falls out. In some cases, the baby tooth will not fall out and will function like an adult tooth long into adulthood. In these cases, it is usually not harmful to leave the baby tooth in place until fails due to dental disease or some other cause.
Teeth are commonly knocked out due to trauma such as an accident. In some instances a knocked out tooth can be successfully reimplanted by a dentist, but only if the patient seeks immediate attention from their dentist. Tooth trauma can also result in a cracked or broken tooth that cannot be repaired.
Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss. Gum disease is essentially a bacterial infection of the gums that leads to bone loss. As the bone supporting the teeth decays, the teeth become loose and fall out.
Tooth loss due to gum disease can be prevented by following good oral health habits. Brushing the teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist twice a year for dental cleaning and a dental check-up will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
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