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The Three Main Reasons People Lose Their Teeth
Reason #1: Decay
You probably guessed this one ahead of time! Unless you were born after 1970, you probably have had a few cavities. Maybe more than a few! Most of our early dental experiences began with early trips to the dentist to fill these holes in the tops of our teeth. I'll let you in on a little secret. Decay is almost 100% preventable! That's right; almost every cavity I've ever seen could have been prevented with good home care and a healthy diet. Decay is nothing more than a hole created in a tooth due to small quantities of acid localized on the tooth for a long period of time. The acid comes from the millions of bacteria found in colonies called plaque. Plaque is the sticky goop that you feel and taste when you wake up with morning breath. The key to minimizing new cavities is controlling and removing plaque. It takes 24 hours for plaque to become organized enough to produce and concentrate the acid that destroys teeth. If you can learn to break up the bacteria-filled plaque colonies at least once every 24 hours, you will practically eliminate decay. Free at last, free at last...
Reason #2: Gum disease
This problem is a little bit tougher to solve and less well known, but gum disease is the #1 killer of gums and bone. If you're over 40, one half of you are afflicted with some form of this disease. Gum disease is a progressive, inflammatory disease of the gum and bone. Simply put, when the gums get infected, the bone starts to dissolve from around the teeth. If untreated, most of your teeth will be lost over time. The teeth get progressively looser until they just fall out! Read carefully, if you have bleeding, swollen gums and you don't seek treatment, you may lose all your teeth from this problem. What causes 90% of gum disease? You guessed it, plaque. Learn to control plaque, and the overwhelming majority of you will control gum disease. How about the other 10% of you? If you learn to control plaque, you will slow and in many cases stop this disease in its' tracks. Is the message getting through? If you can learn to eliminate plaque every 24 hours, most of you will stop getting new cavities and you will control your gum problems. What is our role as your dental team? Our role is to teach you how to control plaque and motivate you to do so. If you are unsuccessful, we step in and repair the damage. The good news is that plaque is easy to control and we can show you how to do it!
Reason #3: Traumatic Occlusion
What in the world is this? In simple terms, this is just a bad bite and they are caused by a number of things. Things like genetics, grinding and clenching your teeth, accidents that cause tooth loss and the shifting teeth due to previous tooth loss. The tragic part of this problem is that bad bites don't really cause many problems until after 20 or 30 years go by. If undiagnosed and untreated early, the teeth will eventually be worn down, ground off, broken off, or become loose due to excess pressure. If your teeth are getting shorter, if they are notched along the gum line, and you notice that your teeth look old before their time, chances are you have a bad bite that needs to be checked out.
A Point to Ponder: Of the big three, decay and gum disease are the biggest reasons people lose their teeth; fortunately, the patient has the ability to prevent or control these problems with good plaque control!