Missing teeth are unattractive enough to cause many to isolate and avoid smiling. It can lead to anxiety and depression for those affected by missing teeth about the gaps too. Unfortunately, the effect on appearance is only the most obvious problem. Missing teeth can create some surprisingly damaging effects on the state of your dental health in general.
Missing Teeth Causes
Most people name cavities as the cause of missing teeth and that is correct, in most cases. A cavity left untreated will eventually eat away at the enamel and destroy the tooth from the inside out. As the inside deteriorates, the outside shell breaks and cracks until there is nothing left of the tooth but an empty space. Decay has multiple causes but is often due to poor dental hygiene. Broken or missing fillings can also produce the potential for tooth loss. Other common causes of tooth loss include:
- Bruxism: Also known as teeth grinding, this condition can gradually wear down the enamel by friction. If you live alone, you might not even realize you are grinding your teeth until your dentist notices the wear and tear. If you grind your teeth, ask the dentist about a mouth guard to wear at night.
- Medical Conditions: Several diseases can negatively affect your teeth and gums. Among them, immune disorders can affect your saliva, making it less effective at rinsing your mouth naturally throughout the day. Other diseases that can create the potential for missing teeth are diabetes and cancer. Medications to control diseases can also hurt your teeth.
- Periodontal Diseases: Almost any opening in the gum or a crack in a tooth can allow bacteria to enter and cause an infection. If left untreated, periodontal diseases can cause the bones in your gums and jaws to deteriorate, leading to tooth loss.
- Blows: Injuries to the mouth can knock out teeth as a result of falls, car accidents, sports, and more.
Missing Teeth Impacts
Having an empty space rather than a tooth is bad enough. Missing teeth can affect all the teeth in your mouth, though. Teeth rely on each other to stay stable and in place. Teeth alongside the gap can loosen and shift to fill the space, while teeth on top or underneath a gap can also loosen. The loosening can mean more will fall out as well as the potential for gum disease. In addition, you can suffer from bone loss from a missing tooth even without periodontal disease. Your body can sense that there is no tooth to support and your jawbones can weaken and lose integrity.
Don't wait until bad things happen to your mouth from a missing tooth. Speak to your dentist and learn about the many solutions available as well as other dental care.