THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – We all want to keep our teeth, but many people don’t realize just how important our mouths are to our overall health and wellness. Losing your teeth at any age can yield many implications; primarily bone loss and psychological effects related to poor aesthetics. It is imperative to practice preventive care by routinely brushing and flossing and regularly visiting a dental hygienist.
The most obvious effect of missing teeth is cosmetic. The way you look affects the way you feel, and the psychological and social consequences of tooth loss can also impact most areas of your life. But it’s not just about unsightly and dark gaps; there’s something less obvious going on in the area of where a tooth is lost, that can affect function, health and facial aesthetics. Research shows that 27% of people lose their first tooth between the ages of 21 and 30.
Teeth are very important but so is the bone, which supports the teeth, and the upper and lower jaws. This bone needs stimulation to maintain its form and density. In the case of the alveolar (sac-like) bone which surrounds and supports the teeth, the necessary stimulation comes from the teeth themselves. Teeth make hundreds of fleeting contacts with each other throughout the day. These small stresses are transmitted through the periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth) that suspends each tooth in its socket, prompting the bone to remodel and rebuild continually.
When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation causes loss of alveolar bone and the gumline starts to recede. Your ability to chew and to speak can be impaired. Have you listened to someone speak to you then remove their dentures and say the same sentence? There is a dramatic difference in the way they speak. The more teeth that are lost, the more function is lost. This leads to some particularly serious aesthetic and functional problems, particularly in completely edentulous (toothless) people.
The distance from nose to chin decreases and with it, the lower third of the face partially collapses. The chin rotates forward and upward, and the cheeks, having lost tooth support, become hollow.
Toothless people appear unhappy and older when their mouths are at rest because their lips, too, have sagged; unsupported by teeth and gum tissues they just cave in. This affects self-confidence for many people.
Please consider the daily care of your teeth and gums by brushing 2-3x per day and flossing once per day. Regular dental hygiene care appointments by registered dental hygienists are your important partners to prevent and/or stop the gum disease that may be causing your tooth loss. A mouthguard may be what you need if you are involved in sports that may contribute to potential tooth loss. Dental Hygienists can supply mouthguards also!
Dental Hygienists can educate you and your family about the important implementation of your appropriate long-term oral care routines. There are many conveniently located independent dental hygiene clinics in Ontario that offer flexible hours to suit your schedule.
In Thunder Bay, Dental Hygiene Smiles is located at 137 McKellar Street North.
Gail Marion, RDH
Dental Hygiene Smiles
137 McKellar Street North
Thunder Bay ON