Have you seen Aziz Ansari’s question about missing teeth on your Chipotle bag? Chipotle decorates their bag with commentary from authors and comedians and calls it their “Cultivating Thought” series.
To answer Ansari’s question… Tooth loss is an indication of overall dental health and access to dental care.
Here are some common causes of tooth loss.
Untreated cavity – you wouldn’t believe how many people delay dental treatment or even ignore holes in their teeth! Unfortunately, a dental cavity cannot repair itself. If the area of tooth decay becomes too large it may be impossible to save the tooth. Regular dental check-ups are vital in identifying early tooth decay. Dental X-rays help us identify decay that may not be visible to the eye. Cleaning by a dental hygienist every six months or more frequently helps remove plaque and calculus and helps prevent cavities. And please don’t forget, prevention starts at home. Brush your teeth three times each day and floss your teeth daily.
Periodontal disease or gum disease is also a leading reason for tooth loss. Periodontal disease starts in the sulcus, the gap between the gum and the tooth. Gum diseases are usually divided into two categories, gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums that causes tender, red, swollen gums that bleed easily. Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis which damages the bone and connective tissue that supports the teeth.
Symptoms of Periodontitis include:
• Gum inflammation, with redness and bleeding.
• Deep pockets or gaps that form between the gum and the tooth.
• And finally, loose teeth, caused by loss of connective tissue structures and bone.
Other risk factors for missing teeth include:
• Age – people older than 35 are at higher risk for loosing teeth
• Gender – men are at higher risk than women
• Lack of professional dental care
• Poor oral hygiene – not brushing teeth
• Smoking (current or past)
• High blood pressure
• Rheumatoid arthritis
Our goal for our dental patients is that they keep healthy teeth for their lifetime. Our dentists and dental hygienists emphasize prevention and early treatment of tooth decay and periodontal disease.
When tooth loss cannot be prevented, there are several options for tooth replacement. Dental implants are an excellent option for tooth replacement. Please read our blog about replacing missing teeth with dental implants.
Ansari continues his musing on the back of the bag about his quest for the perfect toothbrush. “Why do we always want the best?” he asks. Of course he goes to Google for the answer. How often do we do that?! Click below to hear our thoughts on the best toothbrushes.