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5 things you probably don't know about tooth loss

Netdoctor logo Netdoctor 2017-09-12 NetDoctor

5 things you probably don't know about tooth loss © Andy Nowack / EyeEm / Getty 5 things you probably don't know about tooth loss Taking care of our teeth is probably one of the first things we learn about health, and for many of us, a strict oral health regime is something we take very seriously. 

Of course, we're all familiar with the classic advice - avoid too many sugary snacks and drinks, steer clear of coffee and red wine, if you want to avoid staining, and, of course, the importance of flossing (using interdental brushes) religiously. However, when it comes to preserving the lifespan our teeth, there are still a few lessons to learn.

So even after all those years of brushing, here are five things you might not know about tooth loss...

1. Acid levels in food

Each time you eat, the levels of acid in your mouth rise dramatically. It then takes a full hour for the acidity levels to return to a normal balance. When acid levels are raised consistently, as a result of regularly eating sweet treats, you become at serious risk of tooth decay. To best protect your teeth, make sure you limit those sugary intakes to an absolute minimum and rather than making a sweet snack last all day, try to consume it in one sitting so the acid levels are only raised once. 

2. Playing sports

Bad news for the sportspeople out there: unfortunately, sports and missing teeth often go hand in hand! Whether it's a cricket ball to the face or a collision on the rugby pitch, knocking out a tooth can easily happen if you don't take the necessary precautions. Take a lead from professional athletes and wear a mouth guard to help protect your teeth during high-impact activities.

If you are unlucky enough to have a tooth knocked out while playing a sport, keep hold of it, store it in saliva or milk and get straight to the dentist as you may be able to have it put back in. 

3. Tooth grinding

Many of us will end up clenching or grinding their teeth at some point in their lives - often this can happen completely subconsciously. While occasional grinding isn't usually harmful, if it happens regularly it can wear away teeth and also put strain on the surrounding tissue, gum and bone. Without this supporting bone, your teeth could become loose and eventually fall out. 

Grinding is often caused by stress or anxiety, but can also be a result of an abnormal bite or crooked teeth. It's therefore important that you book an appointment with your dentist immediately if you notice grinding, as they will be able to advise on preventative methods and solutions. 

4. Smoking and poor oral hygiene

Can genetics impact tooth loss? Yes, according to research from the Journal of Periodontology, with males over the age of 35 being more prone to developing periodontal disease than other groups. Of course, environmental factors play a significant role in this too - namely a history of poor oral hygiene and smoking. While you can't control your gender or your age, avoiding smoking and ensuring you are keeping on top of your day-to-day dental hygiene is always possible. 

5. There is a solution

A missing tooth needn't be a lifelong problem. There are many solutions available, including dental implants, which provide a long-term, safe, natural looking replacement for missing or badly damaged teeth, according to the team at Oasis Dental Care.

The best thing to do if you have a missing or damaged tooth is visit your dentist to talk through the options available to you.

Related: Why Worrying Might Help You Live Longer (provided by Wochit News)

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