Endentulism is tooth loss that typically affects adults and seniors. . Twenty-five percent of seniors older than 60 are completely toothless, according to a study in the International Journal of Dentistry.
Roughly 40 million Americans do not have any teeth, and 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth. These numbers are expected to grow in the next two decades.
Tooth loss can happen from decay and gum disease, and as a result of injury, cancer, or simply wear and tear. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, over 70 percent of people older than 65 have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, which is the major reason that people lose their teeth. People who use tobacco products are at a greater risk for gum disease. Other contributing factors are poor oral care habits, poor diets, missing dental checkups, teeth grinding and certain drugs and medical conditions such as diabetes.
Tooth loss can lead to serious consequences including trouble eating, speaking, pain, anxiety, loss of confidence and changes in facial feature due to bone atrophy. If you are an older woman and experience tooth loss studies have shown a higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) can lead to severe complications such as heart disease and stroke.
The good news is since the 1950’s, older Americans are keeping their teeth longer than ever. Even better news, some causes of tooth loss can be in your control. That’s why it is so important to maintain a good oral health routine and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
Discuss a treatment plan with your dentist that focuses on early detection and prevention of oral disease to keep your teeth healthy. Should you experience tooth loss there are several treatment options from which to choose such as dentures, bridges or dental implants.