9c31e-smokingaffectsoralhealthWe all know that dental hygiene is important to maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile. Brushing and flossing regularly keeps your mouth healthy, your smile glowing, and your dentist happy. But, even with a consistently strong dental hygiene routine, your gum and tooth health may be more at risk than you think.

Tooth loss isn’t just for children shedding their baby teeth. There are a number of factors that can make adults begin losing their teeth, and you may be surprised to find that you might be at risk.

1. Smoking

One of the tell-tale signs of a long-term smoker is yellow teeth. Because of the amount of smoke and chemicals smokers breathe into their mouth every day, their teeth and gums struggle to stay healthy. Smokers often experience oral hygiene problems like bad breath or gum disease because of their smoking habit, even if they stick to a strict brushing and flossing routine.

Because of smokers’ poor oral health, they are more likely than non-smokers to experience tooth loss. When gum disease caused by smoking becomes severe, their teeth may begin falling out.

2. Diabetes

Those suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes, particularly those over the age of 50, are more likely to experience tooth loss than those without diabetes. Those with diabetes are also more at risk for a complete loss of teeth.

Tooth loss in diabetics can be explained by their high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. High blood sugar can prevent essential nutrients from reaching the gums, or keep minor infections from healing. When the gums are unhealthy, teeth will begin falling out.

To ensure adequate gum and teeth health in diabetics, they should follow a strict brushing and flossing regime and visit a dentist for regular teeth cleanings.

3. Not Receiving Enough Dental Care

It may seem obvious that avoiding the dentist would result in tooth loss, but many people skip visiting the dentist any way. Many of those individuals stay away from the dentist because they know they are practicing poor oral hygiene habits.

If individuals are not brushing their teeth, flossing, or visiting their dentist for regular cleanings, they are probably experiencing some gum disease, putting them at risk of losing teeth.

4. High Blood Pressure

Individuals suffering from high blood pressure may also be at risk for experiencing tooth loss. Side effects of certain high blood pressure medications include swelling of gums, which can make it difficult for the individual to chew and clean their teeth and gums effectively.

When food particles and bacteria get trapped in the gums of high blood pressure patients, it can become infected or lead to gum disease. Severe cases of gum disease could prompt teeth to begin falling out.

Individuals with high blood pressure, especially those taking medications where swollen gums are a side effect, should take extra precautions when brushing and flossing at home, and visit a dentist for regular cleanings.

5. Poor Eating Habits

When you were little, your mother may have warned you that eating too much candy would make your teeth fall out. And, as always, your mother was right.

Eating too much candy or drinking too much soda can cause your gums and teeth to become unhealthy and result in the loss of teeth. Acids found in soda can prevent calcium absorption, making your bones and teeth weaker. If most of your diet consists of sugar-based products, like chocolates, gummy candies, and fizzy drinks, you should be flossing and brushing your teeth more than twice a day to prevent the sugars from ruining your smile.

Keeping your gums and teeth healthy play a major role in keeping all your natural teeth. After our first round of baby teeth have been lost, we are stuck with the teeth that grow in their place for the rest of our life. Taking preventative measures, flossing, and brushing consistently are the only ways to ensure they stay happy, healthy, and in place as long as possible.

If you are at higher risk of tooth loss because of health concerns, medication side effects, or life choices, be sure to take extra precaution when brushing, flossing, or visiting your dentist.