Kate's Fear of TMJ

Keeping The Tooth Fairy Away: Why Preventing Tooth Loss Is Important

When you were a kid, you probably got excited when you lost a tooth.  After all, this meant the tooth fairy would pay you a visit and leave money under your pillow.  Yet, now that you're older, tooth loss is no longer appealing.  Although 70 percent of people in America have experienced tooth loss, you don't have to be one of them.  Here are a few reasons why you don't want to lose your permanent teeth and how you can prevent tooth loss.  

Bone Loss

The alveolar bone in your jaw surrounds and supports your teeth.  Furthermore, the presence of teeth allow this bone to be stimulated.  When a tooth goes missing, the jaw loses out on some of this stimulation.  As a result, the jaw's alveolar bone slowly becomes smaller, a process called resorption. Dental implants from the Center For Progressive Dentistry can help prevent bone loss if you do lose a tooth.


In the absence of a pearly white or two, your neighboring teeth will begin to drift into the open space.  Typically, the adjacent teeth will lean over into the empty space.  Likewise, your top teeth can also drift down into the vacant spots, a phenomenon called supra-eruption.  Drifting can cause differences in gum tissue height which can make it difficult to remove food from the gums.  The build-up of food and plaque can cause periodontal disease and tooth decay.  Finally, the movement can also negatively affect the way you bite, chew, and speak.  


Missing teeth will not only leave gaps in your smile, it will change the way your face looks.  Bone loss can lead to sagging face muscles and hollow cheeks.  If you don't get dental implants or a partial denture, the bone loss will continue until the lower third of your face starts to collapse.  It's likely these appearance changes will affect your confidence.

Preventing Tooth Loss

Along with proper brushing and flossing habits, to prevent tooth loss, you'll need to do the following:

  • Don't use your teeth as tools: Avoid opening bottle caps with your chompers.  
  • Avoid hard foods: Things such as ice cubes and popcorn kernels can damage teeth.  
  • Stop smoking: By encouraging periodontal disease, smoking doubles your chance of losing your teeth.  
  • Eat a balanced diet: Proper nutrition will help prevent bone loss.  A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D helps with tooth retention.  Supplements can also help you get enough calcium.  Each day, you can take up to 2,500 milligrams of calcium and 1,000 units of vitamin D.

Of course, regular dental visits can help keep the tooth fairy away too!