As an adult, it’s never a good thing to have loose teeth. They should be pearly white, healthy, and firmly anchored in your mouth. So what if that’s not the case and your adult teeth are loose? Why does this happen and what can you do about it? There are a few things you can do about loose teeth. The first step is to identify the cause. It’s important to fix the problem rather than ignore it and allow it to get worse because it will. Some common causes of loose teeth include:
- Gum disease: a chronic infection that causes inflammation and damage to the gums. As the gums recede, the teeth become more exposed and more likely to loosen.
- Bruxism: the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth. This can put excessive pressure on the teeth, causing them to loosen.
- Trauma: If you have recently suffered a blow to the teeth, this could have caused them to loosen.
- Erosion: the gradual wearing away of tooth enamel. Erosion can leave the teeth more vulnerable to loosening.
Once you have identified the cause of the looseness, you can take steps to treat it. If gum disease is the cause, Dr. Scharf will likely recommend scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning procedure that removes plaque and bacteria from below the gum line. If bruxism is the cause, a night guard can help protect your teeth from grinding. If trauma is the cause, splinting the teeth together to stabilize them might be the best treatment. If the looseness is caused by erosion, Dr, Scharf may recommend fluoride treatments or bonding to strengthen the teeth. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged tissue and bone and to secure the teeth in place.
If you have a loose tooth, it is important to see a dentist or a periodontist like Dr. Scharf as soon as possible. The sooner you identify the cause of the looseness and get treated, the better the chances of saving the tooth.
Tips for Preventing Loose Teeth
Here are some tips for preventing adult loose teeth:
- Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. This will help to remove plaque and bacteria, which can lead to gum disease.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. This will help to catch any problems early when they are easier to treat.
- Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth. If you do grind or clench your teeth, wear a night guard to protect your teeth.
- Eat a healthy diet. Keep your teeth strong and healthy by eating the foods that strengthen your teeth and avoiding the foods that weaken your teeth.
- Quit smoking. Smoking damages your gums and teeth, making them more likely to loosen. Smoking also encourages plaque buildup that can develop into gum disease.
Let’s dive deeper into why these tips matter and how they can keep your teeth healthy and strong.
1. Brush Your Teeth and Floss Regularly
Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day prevents loose teeth by removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that can build up on your teeth and gums. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, which can further irritate your gums and lead to gum disease.
Gum disease is a serious infection that can cause your gums to recede and your teeth to become loose. Brushing and flossing help to remove plaque and bacteria, which can help to prevent gum disease and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
2. Regular Dental Checkups and Cleanings
Regular dental checkups and cleanings help to prevent loose adult teeth by:
- Identifying and treating gum disease early: Gum disease is the leading cause of loose teeth in adults. Regular checkups and cleanings allow your dentist to look for signs of gum disease, such as redness, swelling, and bleeding. If gum disease is caught early, it can be treated with scaling and root planing, a procedure that removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line. If gum disease is further developed, laser gum treatment or LANAP may be a treatment option.
- Removing plaque and tartar: Plaque and tartar are sticky substances that can build up on your teeth and gums. If they are not removed, they can lead to gum disease and loose teeth. Your dentist can remove plaque and tartar during a regular checkup and cleaning.
- Detecting other problems: Regular checkups and cleanings allow your dentist to look for other problems that could lead to loose teeth, such as tooth decay, fractures, and injuries. If these problems are caught early, they can be treated before they cause damage to your teeth.
If you are concerned about loose teeth, be sure to see Dr. Scharf for a checkup and cleaning. He can assess your risk of developing loose teeth and recommend treatment options if necessary.
3. Avoid Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth
Grinding or clenching your teeth, also known as bruxism, can cause loose teeth by putting excessive pressure on the teeth. This pressure can cause the ligaments that hold the teeth in place to weaken, which can lead to the teeth becoming loose.
Grinding and clenching can be caused by a number of factors, including stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders. If you grind or clench your teeth, you may not even be aware of it. However, there are some signs and symptoms that can indicate that you are grinding or clenching your teeth, such as:
- Jaw pain: This is the most common symptom of bruxism.
- Headache: Bruxism can also cause headaches, especially in the temples.
- Earache: Some people with bruxism experience earaches, as the grinding or clenching can put pressure on the jaw joint (temporomandibular Joint or TMJ), which is located near the ear.
- Pain in the teeth or gums: Grinding or clenching can cause pain in the teeth or gums.
- Loose teeth: In some cases, grinding or clenching can cause the teeth to become loose.
If you think you may be grinding or clenching your teeth, it is important to see Dr. Scharf. He can diagnose bruxism and recommend treatment options. Treatment for bruxism may include:
- Night guard: A night guard is a custom-made appliance that fits over your teeth and protects them from grinding or clenching.
- Stress management: If stress is a contributing factor to your bruxism, Dr. Scharf may recommend stress management techniques, such as relaxation exercises.
- Medication: In some cases, Dr. Scharf may recommend visiting your doctor who may prescribe medication to help you to relax and reduce the amount of grinding or clenching you do.
If you have jaw pain or any of the other signs or symptoms of grinding or clenching your teeth, visit Dr. Scharf. He can help you avoid further damage and repair your teeth.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can prevent loose teeth for adults in a few ways:
- By providing the nutrients your teeth need to stay strong and healthy. Teeth are made up of mostly calcium, phosphorus, and fluoride. These nutrients are essential for keeping your teeth strong and preventing them from becoming loose. A healthy diet will provide you with the nutrients your teeth need.
- By reducing your risk of gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of loose teeth in adults. A healthy diet can help to reduce your risk of gum disease by reducing the amount of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Plaque and bacteria are the main causes of gum disease.
- By strengthening your immune system. A healthy immune system is important for fighting off infection. If you have a strong immune system, you are less likely to develop gum disease or other infections that can damage your teeth.
Here are some specific foods that can help to prevent loose teeth:
- Green leafy vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and fluoride.
- Whole grains: Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can help to reduce plaque and bacteria in your mouth.
- Fruits: Fruits are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, which is important for gum health.
- Fish: Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a risk factor for gum disease.
A healthy diet can help to keep your teeth strong and healthy and reduce your risk of gum disease.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking damages your gums and teeth in a number of ways:
- Reduces blood flow to the gums: Smoking constricts blood vessels, which reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach the gums. This makes it harder for the gums to heal and fight off infection.
- Increases plaque buildup: Smoking makes it more difficult to remove plaque from your teeth. Plaque bacteria can build up on your teeth and gums and harden into tartar, which can lead to gum disease.
- Damages tooth enamel: The chemicals in smoke can damage tooth enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth. This makes your teeth more vulnerable to decay and makes it harder to keep them clean.
- Increases risk of gum disease: Gum disease is a serious infection that can cause your gums to recede and your teeth to become loose. Smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease by two to three times.
- Increases risk of tooth loss: If you have gum disease, you are more likely to lose your teeth. Smoking can increase your risk of tooth loss by up to five times.
If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your oral health. Quitting smoking can help to reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth loss, and it can also help to improve your overall health.
By following these tips, you can help to keep your teeth healthy and prevent them from becoming loose. If you have adult loose teeth, visit Dr. Scharf’s office by scheduling a consultation today.