Dental Health: 5 Ways Missing Teeth Can Negatively Affect Your Oral Health

For children, losing a tooth is a normal sign of growth. As time passes, all of their baby teeth will be replaced by permanent ones, forming a complete set of 32 teeth. But for adults, losing a tooth may not have the same glamor. It can be a sign of oral health problems that you should attend to as soon as possible.

Teeth X Ray

Teeth X-Ray

There are many reasons why adults lose their teeth, such as physical trauma, accidents, and dental diseases (e.g., periodontal or gum disease). Although there are many ways to restore them, most people choose to ignore them and live their lives with some teeth missing.

Read Also: 10 Important Tips for Proper Dental Health After Having Dental Implants

But if you wish to restore your sweet smile, one of the treatments your dentist may recommend is dental implant surgery—a permanent fix that replaces missing teeth using screw-like metal implants. If you want to know how dental implants can improve your life, Aria Dental explains everything on their page here.

On the other hand, failing to replace your missing teeth can cause detrimental effects on your oral health and your smile. It will put you at risk of developing serious conditions that affect your quality of life.

The following are ways tooth loss can affect your oral health.

  1. It Can Accelerate The Loss Of Healthy Jawbone

Natural teeth play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy jawbone. They stimulate bone growth every time you chew and bite something, which prevents jawbone recession. That’s why it’s best to replace missing teeth as soon as possible.

Without the presence of natural teeth, your jawbone will no longer receive the stimuli it needs to support growth and development. It will cause it to disintegrate over time, leading to a dental condition called bone resorption.

Think of your jawbone as a muscle you gain by working out and performing exercises. If you stop working out or leave your muscles unused, they will become atrophied. It means muscle loss due to a lack of stimulation.

Therefore, once you lose a tooth, consult your doctor immediately and ask them what treatment can help you prevent the recession of your jawbone (e.g., dental implants).

  1. It Can Cause Your Teeth To Shift

Teeth help each other by being a shoulder they can rely on. If their neighboring teeth go missing, they’ll have nothing to depend on, causing them to shift.

When you lose a tooth, it leaves a gap between two teeth. This gap causes the other teeth to move and shift from one place to another. That is because there’s no longer a tooth that will keep them in their proper spots.

Read Also: Dental Health: Common Complications of Tooth Extractions and How to Avoid Them

If your teeth move out of place, there’s a high possibility of bite issues—misalignment between upper and lower teeth or malocclusion. Below are the different types of bite issues you might want to know.

  • Crossbite: It happens when your upper teeth move inside your lower teeth.
  • Underbite: This happens when your lower teeth move in front of your upper teeth like a bulldog.
  • Open Bite: It happens when your front or back teeth don’t meet.
  • Crowding: It is a condition where teeth overlap and push each other apart, making it difficult to clean and a breeding ground for cavities.

If you have a bite issue due to missing teeth, seek immediate dental help to stop the movement of your teeth and restore them to their proper position. Your doctor may ask you to have dental implants, bridges, or dentures to prevent your teeth from shifting.

Keep in mind that teeth shifting is a major issue. If left untreated, bite changes can become permanent and cause severe dental problems, such as tooth decay, toothache, and gum disease.

  1. It Can Change The Shape Of Your Face

Your natural teeth provide support and strength for your jawbone. Without them, your jawbone will start to weaken and be eaten away by your gums, allowing your body to reabsorb it. It can change your facial profile and make you look older than your actual age.

Aside from losing jawbones, here are other ways missing teeth can alter the shape of your face:

  • It Can Cause Your Face To Sag: Your natural teeth also support your facial structure. When they’re missing, there’s nothing that can support your facial tissues, causing your face to sag and making you look old even if you’re not.
  • It Can Cause Jaw Misalignment: As mentioned earlier, teeth can shift and fill in the gaps left by missing teeth. It can cause your jaws to move out of their proper alignment, making your face shape quite unusual, which others may easily notice.
  • It Can Cause Gum Shifting: The main role of your gums is to cover and hold your teeth. When your teeth go missing, gums have no other place to turn. Your gums will start to shrink, causing wrinkles around your mouth, thin lips, and protruded chin.

There’s only one way to prevent the alteration of your facial structure due to tooth loss: dental implants. Why? It’s because dental implants can imitate your teeth’ natural root structure. So, ask your dentist if you’re a good candidate for dental implants.

  1. It Can Make Chewing Difficult

Chewing is one of the common problems people with missing teeth encounter. The issue often depends on where the missing teeth are located.

  • For Molars: If your missing teeth are molars or back teeth, it will be difficult for you to grind meat and other hard food substances, such as nuts, crackers, etc.
  • For Incisors: If your missing teeth are incisors or front teeth, it will be difficult to bite into the food you want. For example, you won’t be able to bite an apple without your front teeth.

Failure to chew food properly can cause large food particles to stick to your teeth, leading to plaque buildup and cavities eventually. It can also cause other health issues, such as indigestion and acid reflux.

Your teeth need to grind food as much as possible before it enters your stomach to help your body properly digest food particles. Therefore, if the food isn’t chewed properly, it’ll be difficult to digest, causing indigestion and excessive acid release (acid reflux or hyperacidity).

Read Also: Reconstructive Dentistry: What to Expect after Having Dental Crowns Put In

  1. It Can Cause Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, or cavities, is one of the most common oral health issues everyone may encounter. It occurs when the bacteria that produce acids damage your teeth’ surface. These bacteria come from the food particles and excess dirt on your teeth.

Read Also: Pediatric Dentistry: How To Prepare Your Child For Their First-Ever Dental Visit

When you have missing teeth, it will be more challenging to brush and floss those left behind properly, especially if others start to shift and become crowded. In this case, there’s a high possibility that some of them may not be cleaned thoroughly.

It forms plaque buildup that can cause tooth decay, eventually leading to further tooth loss. That’s why it’s best to address the issue of missing teeth as soon as possible to maintain healthy oral hygiene and prevent cavities.

How Are Missing Teeth Addressed?

Below are the possible treatments your dentist may recommend to replace your missing teeth.

  • Dentures: Dentures are the most common solution to fill the gaps left by your missing teeth. It can also protect your gums and other teeth from potential damage.
  • Implants: As mentioned earlier, these are screw-like metal posts embedded in your jawbone as a permanent replacement for your missing teeth.
  • Bridges: As the name implies, they act as a bridge that fills the gap using the two surrounding teeth as posts or support for the replacement.

Although availing of these solutions for your missing teeth may come at a price, the benefits outweigh the cost. When you resort to any of these dental health treatments, you can rest easy knowing that your oral health is at its best, saving you from possible complicated oral health issues in the long run.

Final thoughts

Missing teeth are often left ignored and untreated by many people. Unfortunately, failure to replace them can lead to detrimental oral health issues, such as tooth decay, bite issues, loss of jawbone, and more. So, seek dental help as soon as possible to prevent such problems and improve your smile.




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