Dr. Keith Bram, DDS

Is Tooth Loss an Inevitable Part of Aging?

Jul 03, 2023
Is Tooth Loss an Inevitable Part of Aging?
Kids should expect visits from the Tooth Fairy — but should adults? Here, we explore what’s really going on behind adult tooth loss and give you straight-from-the-expert advice on how to avoid it.

You should expect a few things when you get older, like gray hair and wrinkles. Sadly, many adults and seniors add tooth loss to that list, mistakenly assuming that losing their teeth is a normal part of aging. 

Keith Bram, DDS, and our team at Doc Bram in Lisle, Illinois, want to make it clear that tooth loss is not inevitable. Although the effects of time do take a toll on your teeth and overall oral health, that doesn't mean you’re doomed to live with a toothless grin.

In this blog post, we debunk a few misconceptions about why the older generations lose their teeth and help you find a path to oral health that can last the rest of your days. 

What causes tooth loss

From your joints to your memory, many things fail the test of time. Your teeth are no different. Wear-and-tear can cause your teeth to lose some of their edge and become discolored. Maintenance medications for chronic health conditions can cause dry mouth and lead to tooth decay.

But that doesn’t mean your teeth simply fall out because they’ve gotten older. There’s almost always an explanation for why your teeth come loose, and it usually has something to do with underlying oral health issues. Here’s a closer look.

Periodontal disease 

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is far and away the most common cause of tooth loss among older folks. Without treatment, the disease and decay in your teeth eat away at your gums, bones, and supporting tissues, allowing your teeth to fall out.

Your chances of developing gum disease go up as you get older because plaque and tartar accumulate over time, and keeping up with your oral hygiene becomes more difficult as the years go on.

Skipping your dental cleanings and exams

This is a serious warning about your oral health. Even if you think you have your oral hygiene routine down pat, you can’t count on your toothbrush alone to clean as thoroughly as a professional. 

You need the help of an expert to carefully clean and examine your teeth and gums to make sure decay and disease aren’t lurking in the crevices, catching the earliest warning signs of potential problems to prevent tooth loss.

Poor nutrition

As with any other part of your body, your teeth have specific nutrition requirements in order to perform properly. If you’re not getting enough calcium, they could wear down faster and become vulnerable to tooth decay and loss. 

Furthermore, if you’re snacking on sugary or acidic drinks and treats, you could damage your teeth and gums without realizing it. 

Bad habits

Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, opening bottles with your teeth, grinding your teeth, and chewing on hard candy are all bad habits that you pick up through the years, and they can cause your teeth to weaken.

How to avoid adult tooth loss

There are a few reasons your adult teeth can fall out, but the solution is simple — all you have to do is employ some lifestyle adjustments. To avoid adult tooth loss, we recommend that you:

  • Establish a consistent oral hygiene routine
  • Change your toothbrush every few months
  • See us for a cleaning and checkup every six months
  • Stop smoking, and limit your alcohol consumption
  • Stay hydrated
  • Deal with tooth problems as soon as possible

If the worst happens and you experience tooth loss, don’t panic. We have years of experience replacing teeth with dental implants and can help you fill in the gaps and improve your smile. 

Worried about your oral health? If you’re looking for some support, we’d love to see you for a checkup and answer your questions. Call our friendly staff at 630-963-9280 or use online booking to schedule an appointment today.