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    Loose or Lost Teeth continued...

    Some studies show a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw, which anchors the teeth. Especially common in seniors, tooth loss can occur when osteoporosis affects the jaw. Tooth loss affects approximately one-third of adults ages 65 and older.

    Affecting nearly 10 million Americans, osteoporosis frequently goes undiagnosed until you fracture or break a bone. Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those who do not have the disease. By seeing your dentist regularly, eating a well- balanced diet, and getting regular physical activity, you can get the jump on being diagnosed and treated before any serious injuries occur.

    Changes in Tooth Surfaces and Enamel

    Erosion and translucent tooth enamel are often signs of an eating disorder or acid reflux problem. Excessive vomiting, such as seen with bulimia, can lead to other oral health issues such as:

    Bad Breath (Halitosis)

    Bad breath can result from a dry mouth or the foods and drinks you consume. But gum disease and gingivitis can also contribute to the annoying recurrence of bad breath.

    Beyond your teeth and gums, bad breath that persists can result from certain underlying health problems that require immediate medical attention. These conditions include:

    Mouth Sores, Patches, or Lumps

    Sores and unusual patches in your mouth can be a sign of something benign like a white or yellowish canker sore. But without seeing a dentist there's no way to be sure. Have your dentist check out any new lesions, patches, or lumps right away. These can be the result of an oral fungal infection or something more serious.

    Oral cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the Unites States. It often starts as a small white or red spot or sore in the mouth and occurs most often in smokers or people who use any other forms of tobacco or alcohol. Signs that you may have oral cancer include:

    • Bleeding sores that don't easily heal
    • Hard spots or rough areas
    • Discolored tissue
    • Changes in the way teeth fit together
    • Numbness
    • Lumps or irregular tissue in the mouth, cheeks, neck, or head

    Oral cancer is not something you should try to diagnose at home. If you see any of these signs in your mouth, be sure to see your dentist, who can refer you to the appropriate specialists for care, if needed.

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