Common reasons for tooth loss and warning signs

tooth loss and warning signs

For children, loose or wiggly teeth mean the arrival of the tooth fairy or a similar legend. But adults need to take care of their teeth for a lifetime. 

Loose teeth in adults are certainly a cause for concern because adult teeth are permanent and losing your teeth not only impacts your chewing ability but also your appearance and confidence. 

While many causes for tooth loss in an adult are harmless, others require the care of a dental professional to save the tooth, remove or replace it with a bridge or an implant.

Some of the common causes of tooth loss in an adult are:

Gum disease

Clinically known as periodontal disease, gum disease is one of the primary causes of tooth loss in adults. It is estimated to account for almost 70 percent of missing teeth. 

Gum disease typically starts with bacteria and swelling in the gums. Once it progresses, it destroys the gum tissues and can even damage the jawbone under the gums. 

Common symptoms for gum disease are bad breath, gums that bleed after or during brushing, red and tender gums, bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, loose or shifting teeth or receding gums. 


Cavities are also caused by a bacterial infection and they lead to small holes in the teeth that eventually lead to tooth decay. If cavities are not treated in time, they can destroy the pulp in the center of the tooth, leading to a root canal or tooth loss. 

One can easily prevent cavities by practicing good oral hygiene, eating healthy foods and drinks and visiting the dentist regularly for early detection. Early treatment of any of the dental conditions can save your teeth.

Injury or accidents

Mouth guards are invented to prevent teeth loss while playing sports. Yet, accidents happen.

How we use our teeth in our day to day life can also impact the life of our teeth. Avoid using your teeth to remove caps, tops or lids or to loosen knots or cut threats. Also, avoid opening nut shells or chewing on ice if you want to keep them intact.

People are also at risk for tooth loss if they have diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, smoking, poor nutrition, etc.

It is a good idea to mention any disease or lifestyle factors to your dentist while you visit so they can help you prevent tooth loss.

Other diseases and risk factors

In addition to periodontal disease, these diseases and risk factors can lead to tooth loss:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Arthritis
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition

Be sure to mention any diseases and lifestyle factors to your dentist so you can work together to prevent tooth loss.

A major cause for tooth loss

One of the major causes of tooth loss is an excessive and bending force on the tooth. 

If you have observed the tooth structure, it is made of four types of tissues. Three are enamel, dentin, and cementum – which are hard tissues. The fourth tissue which is the center of the tooth contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective or soft tissue. 

Dentine is the part that covers the pulp and is a hard and calcified structure. It is light yellow in color and is somewhat resilient. The outermost surface or tissue is the hardest part of the tooth. The enamel is very hard but also like glass. It resists pressure but breaks on bending.

To understand what causes bending or breaking, one has to understand the chewing pattern in people. The normal chewing pattern for healthy teeth is vertical.  Our teeth can take this normal force very well.

However, whenever there is some interference in this normal or natural chewing pattern, for example, if someone has a clenching habit then the chewing pattern changes. 

The chewing pattern will shift from vertical to horizontal resulting in unnecessary bending force to the tooth. While our teeth are naturally strong and resilient, they are also brittle.  They break due to excessive and bending force. 

How can you prevent breakage or loss of a tooth due to excessive or bending forces? 

Here are some warning signs of teeth destruction that should help you decide if you should see a dentist:

  • Unexplained tooth sensitivity
  • Vertical fracture of one or more teeth
  • Change of teeth color to yellow
  • Loose back teeth
  • Facets on back teeth
  • Gap and food lodging in back teeth due to tooth movement
  • Abnormal wearing of the front teeth
  • Abfraction
  • Headache, joint pain, and clicking joint sounds

Remember, prevention is better than cure and your natural teeth are your best ally. So, if you have any queries, get in touch with us to help you take care of your teeth better. 

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