Understanding Tooth Loss in Adults

A man experiencing pain due to tooth decay

• Tooth loss is a common problem among adults that can significantly impact one’s life.

• Common causes of tooth loss are periodontal disease, tooth decay, trauma or injury, and age.

• To prevent tooth loss, practice good oral hygiene, maintain a healthy diet, and avoid smoking and tobacco use.

• For tooth loss, your dentist can help repair the damage and restore your teeth with bridges, crowns, dentures, or implants.

Tooth loss is a common problem among adults. It can majorly impact your life, making it hard to eat and speak correctly and impacting your self-confidence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older have lost all their permanent teeth. That’s why it’s important to understand what causes tooth loss in adults and how to prevent it. Let’s dive into the details.

Common Causes of Tooth Loss in Adults

Various factors can cause tooth loss, but some are much more common than others. You may have experienced one or more of the following:

Periodontal Disease


Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria accumulate on the teeth below the gum line and causes inflammation and infection in the gums. If left untreated, this bacteria can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, leading to eventual tooth loss.

Common Causes: Periodontal disease is commonly caused by poor oral hygiene, smoking, or diabetes. It can also be caused by an improper bite, braces that are not properly adjusted, or the use of certain medications.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults and children. When sugar combines with a plaque on your teeth, it creates an acid that eats away at enamel over time, leading to cavities that eventually require filling or extraction if they become too severe.

Common Causes: Tooth decay is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene and a diet rich in sugary and starchy foods. Sugar acts as food for the bacteria that produce acid, and sugary drinks like soda can especially damage your teeth. Tooth decay can also be due to inadequate fluoride exposure or even genetics.

Trauma or Injury

Trauma or injury to the mouth can cause serious damage to your teeth—especially if you don’t seek treatment quickly. Damages include chips, fractures, or even complete tooth loss.

Common Causes: Trauma and injuries can be caused by accidents, fights, contact sports, and more. But even simple activities like playing an instrument or grinding your teeth at night can put you at risk for a dental injury.


As you age, your teeth become more prone to wear and tear due to years of use. You may notice that your teeth become yellow or brittle, and you may even experience pain when chewing.

Common Causes: Age-related tooth loss is simply the result of years of normal wear and tear. It’s caused by poor oral hygiene, diet, genetics, and lifestyle choices. Things such as grinding our teeth at night or eating highly acidic foods can all contribute to weakened enamel over time, leading to eventual tooth loss.

Preventing Tooth Loss in Adults

The best way to prevent tooth loss is to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. Here are a few other tips for preventing tooth loss in adults:

  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eating foods that are low in sugar and high in calcium can help keep your teeth strong.
  • Avoid smoking and tobacco use. Tobacco products can increase the risk of periodontal disease, leading to tooth loss.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing regularly will help to keep your teeth clean and healthy.
  • See your dentist regularly. Visiting the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning can help prevent major issues like tooth decay or periodontal disease.
  • Protect your teeth. Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports or using power tools, and use a night guard if you grind your teeth at night.

A woman putting a mouthguard

Repairing the Damage

If you’ve experienced tooth loss, there are still options available. Your dentist can help to repair the damage and restore your teeth with the following implant dentistry services:

  • Bridges and crowns: Bridges and crowns are artificial dental fixtures that can be placed over damaged teeth to restore their appearance and function. These are usually made with porcelain or metal materials, and they’re designed to match the color of your natural
  • Dentures: Dentures are removable prosthetics that replace missing teeth or entire arches of teeth. They’re custom-made to fit your mouth comfortably, allowing you to chew and speak normally again.
  • Dental implants: Dental implants are artificial roots that can be implanted into your jawbone. Once the implant is in place, a crown or denture can be attached to replace the missing tooth.

Tooth loss can majorly impact your life, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Regular checkups and good oral hygiene can keep your teeth healthy and strong. And if you do experience tooth loss, options are available to restore your smile. Visit your dentist today to discuss the best treatment option for you.

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