Skip to content

    Oral Care

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    9 Risk Factors for Tooth Loss

    Hint: Unhealthy Older Men Who Smoke, Neglect Their Teeth Are at Risk
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Nov. 11, 2005 -- Avoiding tooth loss may be partly within your control, new research suggests.

    In the Journal of Periodontology, dental experts list nine risk factors for tooth loss due to periodontal disease.

    Here's the list:

    The ninth finding was that front (anterior) teeth were more likely to be lost to gum disease than teeth at the back of the mouth.

    Some of those factors -- such as your age and sex -- won't budge. But others -- like whether you brush your teeth or smoke -- are largely up to you.

    Tracking Tooth Loss

    The list was created by Khalaf Al-Shammari, DDS, MS, and colleagues. Al-Shammari works in Kuwait's Ministry of Health.

    The study was done in Kuwait. It covered all adults who had a tooth removed at 21 randomly chosen general dental practice clinics -- a quarter of such clinics in Kuwait.

    The clinics were all run by the Kuwaiti government. Most Kuwaitis who get dental care go to such clinics as part of the country's health system, the researchers note.

    The grand totals: 1,775 patients and 3,694 teeth removed. Fourteen patients had all of their teeth taken out.

    Leading Reason for Tooth Loss

    Gum (periodontal) disease was the leading reason for tooth loss. It's one of the world's main causes of tooth loss, the researchers note.

    Men were more likely than women to have a tooth removed. Tooth loss was also more common among patients aged 35 and older.

    About three out of 10 patients were smokers or ex-smokers. The link between smoking and tooth loss might have been stronger if more information had been available on the patients' smoking habits and history, the researchers note.

    Consequence of Poor Dental Care

    Nearly 40% of the patients reported that they had never gotten professional dental maintenance.

    Only 13% said they had gotten professional dental care in the six months before their tooth extraction.

    Most patients -- 60% -- said they never or only occasionally brushed their teeth. Only about 16% reported brushing their teeth at least twice daily.

    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

    Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


    or
    Answer:
    Never
    (0)
    Good
    (1-3)
    Better
    (4-6)
    Best
    (7)

    You are currently

    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

    Start Over

    Step:  of 

    Today on WebMD

    close up of woman sticking out tongue
    Sores, discoloration, bumps and more.
    toothbrushes
    10 secrets to a brighter smile.
     
    Veneer smile
    Before and after.
    Woman checking her bite in mirror
    Why dental care is important.
     

    Woman dissatisfied with granola bar
    Slideshow
    woman with jaw pain
    Quiz
     
    eroded front teeth
    Slideshow
    brushing teeth
    Video
     

    Variety shades of tea
    Slideshow
    mouth and dental instruments
    Article
     
    Closeup of a happy young guy brushing his teeth
    Tool
    womans smile
    Video