The thought of losing a tooth probably isn’t one you consider often – that is, unless your dentist has uttered the words ‘“gum disease” to you during a dental exam. But gum disease isn’t the only risk factor you need to protect your teeth from, and being proactive with preventative dentistry can aid in preventing tooth loss for life!

Dental Dilemmas That Can Cause Tooth Loss

The top cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease. Making sure you’re preventing gum disease gives your mouth a much more likely chance of keeping your teeth and preventing other problems that can accompany periodontitis.

The top offenders that lead to tooth loss are:

Periodontal Disease

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is not only the cause of tooth loss, but it’s the primary reason people over the age of 35 lose their teeth.


If left untreated, small cavities can grow into a major problem in a small amount of time. Getting cavities filled while they are small is cost effective, and will help you keep your natural teeth without them cracking or breaking from excessive decay.


The first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis can typically be reversed at home with excellent, consistent brushing and flossing. Prevent gingivitis with proper oral hygiene habits.

Broken Crowns

A crown is placed on a tooth that has already been damaged extensively, and a broken crown or bridge will leave the tooth underneath unprotected and vulnerable to even more damage.


Grinding your teeth has big consequences, even though it only seems like a bad habit. Clenching your jaw and long-term grinding is damaging to your enamel and your jaw joints, and can lead to gum recession, exposed tooth roots, and eventually tooth loss.

Skipping Dental Exams.

Regular dental exams are the simplest way to keep your teeth in excellent condition. Being able to spot problems early and before they’re able to progress is the easiest and most cost effective way of preventing major issues. Don’t skip dental exams thinking you’re avoiding issues.

Gum Disease Is The Top Cause Of Tooth Loss

When it comes to periodontal disease, there are two phases. Gingivitis (stage one) causes painful, bleeding, swollen gums. Periodontitis (stage two) is the advanced stage that leads to broken down gum tissue and loss of teeth.

Plaque is a naturally occurring substance in the mouth, so it can’t be completely prevented, but it is possible to reduce the presence of it with proper oral hygiene. Factors that can make plaque harder to control include:

  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Other tobacco use
  • Family history of gum disease
  • Stress
  • A weakened immune system caused by diabetes, leukemia or AIDS
  • Low nutrient diets

Take care of your smile and keep gingivitis and periodontitis at bay by properly brushing, flossing and regularly scheduling visits with your dentist for cleanings and checkups at least twice a year.

Know The Periodontal Disease Risk Factors That Could Impact Your Health

Dental experts have created the list of the top nine risk factors for tooth loss due to periodontal disease, and the list includes:

  • Being older than 35
  • Being male
  • Never getting professional dental care
  • Never using a toothbrush to clean your teeth and mouth
  • Smoking (either current, or in the past)
  • Having diabetes
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having rheumatoid arthritis

The front teeth are more likely to be lost due to gum disease than teeth at the back of the mouth. While factors like your age and sex can’t be helped, other factors like whether you brush your teeth and if you smoke are largely up to you.

How To Make Healthy Gums A Priority

Just because you don’t see your gums doesn’t mean they aren’t a big part of your life and the health of your oral hygiene. Not only is gum health tentatively linked to whole body health, but gum disease can be debilitating and disfiguring. If you need help in learning more about what you can do to keep your gums in top shape, ask Dr. Okamura at your next dental checkup, and be sure to schedule cleanings and exams every 6 months to keep your teeth and gums healthy!

Dr. Kim Dr. Kim

Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.