The Primary Cause of Lost Teeth
Gum disease, rather than tooth decay, is the number one reason for tooth loss. Gum disease can go completely unnoticed up to the point of losing your teeth. Common symptoms are gums that bleed from brushing or flossing, and teeth that have become loose. If the infection is treated in the milder stages, it can be reversed with nonsurgical methods. Once it is advanced, surgery will be necessary.
Gum Disease Can Contribute to Heart Disease and Even Stroke
Many patients think that gum disease is no big deal, as it is not something you die from. But recent medical research has revealed that gum disease is linked to potentially fatal conditions like diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Gum infection is now considered a more serious problem than just losing your teeth. The bacterial infection in the gums travels throughout the bloodstream, affecting vital organs. The American Academy of Periodontology reports, “studies found periodontal infection may contribute to the development of heart disease, increase the risk of premature, underweight births, and pose a serious threat to people whose health is already compromised due to diabetes and respiratory diseases.”
The American Dental Association has estimated that a staggering 80% of Americans have gum infection at various stages. At such a high percentage, most dentists consider this an epidemic – and now it has been proven that infected gums may add to potentially life-threatening conditions.
Now the Good News
Periodontal disease can be reversed with nonsurgical methods and improved dental hygiene if treated before it reaches an advanced level. It is important to take care of this infection at the first signs, because if you wait too long, surgery may be the only option. Both procedures are generally covered by most dental insurance.
What’s So Bad About Losing a Tooth?
Losing even one tooth can cause other teeth to start to shift or loosen. This is not good, as it affects your ability to chew and obtain nutrients from your food. Missing teeth will change your appearance and make you look older than you are. Your speech may not be as clear as with a full set of teeth. And if it is difficult to chew, your food choices may change to soft foods of higher calories that result in weight gain.