Tooth loss, or edentulism, is when one or more teeth fall out or are extracted due to injury or disease such as mouth trauma, tooth decay or gum disease.
Kids, adults and seniors are all at risk for tooth loss, especially if proper oral hygiene is not practiced.
Although tooth loss is typically associated with the elderly, research suggests that nearly 27 percent of patients experience their first tooth loss between the ages of 21 and 30. Tooth loss is expected to increase with aging baby boomers, perpetuating a phenomenon among a generation of people that saw their parents fall victim to tooth loss due to lack of dental care.
Kids: As kids become more active, they are susceptible to two types of traumatic tooth loss – premature loss of a baby tooth or loss of a permanent tooth due to injury or neglect. Children should wear protective mouth guards when playing sports, and parents should consult a dentist immediately in the case of an injury.
Adults: Most people do not know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Tooth loss is also linked to smoking, heart disease and diabetes.
Seniors: As people age, plaque accumulates and becomes harder to eliminate.Gum recession, older fillings and dry mouth put seniors at a higher risk of losing their natural teeth.
Reviewed: January 2012