Although your teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why you may lose one or more of them. If tooth loss occurs, then you should replace your lost teeth as soon as possible. Yet, preventing tooth loss in the first place is preferable to treating it once it occurs. To improve your chances of tooth loss prevention, we explore the most common cause of permanent tooth loss—gum disease.
How Gum Disease Develops
Like most dental issues, gum disease begins when oral bacteria form excessive dental plaque on your teeth and gums. In the midst of inadequate hygiene, these germs can undergo processes that directly damage your oral structures, like releasing toxins that erode the connective tissues holding your gums to your teeth.
The separation of your gum tissue, called gum recession, allows more germs to gather between your gums and teeth, exacerbating the damage. Irritation, gum recession, and inflammation from the infection comprise the early stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis. The signs can warn you of an increased risk of tooth loss if the condition isn’t treated soon.
How Gum Disease Causes Tooth Loss
Although gingivitis causes redness, swelling, and bleeding, it doesn’t usually hurt and often goes unnoticed or ignored. When allowed to progress, gum disease erodes the structures that support your teeth (gums and jawbone). By the time you seek treatment, one or more of your teeth may no longer have the support they need to remain intact, making gum disease the most common reason for tooth loss.