Missing teeth are often associated with more immediate concerns, such as progressive tooth decay and gum disease. Most often, people with missing teeth don’t consider the long-term consequences of their oral health. However, oral health has a significant impact on various other health conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Both of these diseases can present massive impacts on a person’s life expectancy and future mortality. Poor oral health may indicate an increased risk of developing diseases and potential death by casualty concerning oral health.
How Missing Teeth Contribute To A Lower Life Expectancy
The nature of missing teeth is often defined by characteristics such as dental plaque, cavities, gum inflammation, and poor masticatory function. As plaque continues to accumulate along with the teeth and gums, the bacteria present within the plaque can cause the gums to a severe degree, causing the bacteria to spread across into the bloodstream. When left untreated, periodontal disease and the body’s inflammatory response could potentially lead to more complicated issues later on in life. By extension of these oral health problems, missing teeth can disrupt the alignment of the teeth, causing them to shift and leave the gums more prone to further infection.
Recent studies from the Scientific Reports studied the connection between poor oral health, specifically dental plaque, cavities, gum inflammation, and missing teeth. The study reported a positive linear association between oral health and mortality, where all cancer mortality was positively associated with poor oral health. The study also observed mortality with non-cardiovascular diseases and non-cancerous diseases and found a positive correlation between high dental plaque and all-cause mortality. In another study reported by the Bioscience Reports from the Portland Press, researchers found a positive relation between tooth loss and all-cause mortality, with an increased risk in those who have more than 11 teeth missing overtime.
How You Can Protect Your Teeth and Oral Health
As people age, losing teeth is a common occurrence that’s expected as part of the natural aging process. Missing teeth, however, are also an indicator of poor oral health. Whether you have one missing tooth or multiple missing teeth, there are still many ways to prevent infection and decay from harming your overall health.
- Visiting Your Dentist – Visiting your dentist can give you options for replacing missing teeth, such as implants and implant bridges, to help restore your oral health.
- Brushing and Flossing – Brushing and flossing is one of the best preventative measures against fighting bacteria and losing teeth.
- Use Fluoride Products – Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel and keep teeth healthy.
- Avoid Smoking – Smoking tobacco products that contain nicotine can impact your oral health and increase the risk of gum disease.
- Limit Sugary Foods and Starches – Sugary foods can fuel bacteria in your mouth and contribute to heavy cavity development.
- Drink Water – Drinking water replenishes the mouth to help produce more saliva to fight off harmful bacteria.
These key pieces of advice are some of the best preventative measures dentists have for people’s health. Because of the essential connection between oral health and your overall health, following these steps will give you more power over your oral health and help you improve your life expectancy over time. These practices offer people of all ages the agency to control their oral health and give themselves healthier, happier teeth for the long run. For more information about treating missing teeth, contact your dentist to learn more about your treatment options.