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Oral Health Buzz

The Many Causes of Loose Teeth

Donna Pleis

As children, wiggly, loose teeth meant that we would soon be richer, thanks to the tooth fairy. As adults, the tooth fairy is a thing of the past. Now, we need and want to keep our teeth for a lifetime. Tooth mobility is typically a red flag for a dental problem, which may require immediate attention. There are a number of different oral health conditions that can cause tooth loosening.

Periodontal Disease

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, periodontal disease affects not only your gums but also the ligaments and bone that surround and support your teeth.Periodontal disease is one of the most common causes for loose and shifting teeth. It all starts when the bacterial plaque that forms on your teeth around the gum line hardens into tartar because of inadequate brushing and flossing. As the tartar forms and more dental plaque forms on top of it which contains bacterial toxins, the gum tissue becomes inflamed, bleeds easily and pulls away from your tooth. The gums can develop periodontal pockets that form around the tooth or teeth allowing more bacteria and toxins to form deep within the pocket. This can lead to the loss of bone and connective tissues that secure your teeth in place.

Here's the good news: You can avoid this disease, and you don't have to let it get to the point of developing periodontal pocketing and loose teeth. Good home care, including brushing and flossing, and regular dental visits twice a year are the keys to prevention. However, there have been many advances in treatments. Today, dentists and periodontists successfully treat their patients, even in advanced stages, with deep cleanings, periodontal surgeries and good periodontal maintenance protocols.

Pregnancy Hormones

High levels of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy can cause the ligaments and bone around your teeth to loosen, which results in tooth mobility, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fortunately, this is usually a temporary situation that does not normally result in tooth loss unless there are other complications, such as periodontal disease. Don't take a chance; at the first sign of any tooth movement while pregnant and consult with your dentist.

Osteoporosis

Both men and women can be affected by osteoporosis, which is a condition in which the bones throughout the body become less dense and are prone to fracture. When the density of the bone around the teeth lessens, teeth can become loose. According to the National Institute of Health, women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than women without the disease.

The American Dental Association recommends that you tell your dentist about any medications you take for the treatment of osteoporosis. The risk is low, but antiresorptive medications can interfere with certain dental treatments. The medicine can lead to a condition called osteonecrosis, which can cause loose teeth.

Traumatic Forces

The periodontal ligament and connective tissue that hold your teeth in their sockets can become stretched whenever there are extreme forces placed on the teeth. When the periodontal ligament become stretched, you may experience loose teeth. This can happen if you regularly grind your teeth at night, clench your jaws or have teeth that do not align properly. Any trauma to your mouth from a fall or accident can damage the ligaments and the bone around the tooth. Consider any injury to your mouth area a dental emergency, and see your dentist right away.

Tooth mobility is never a good sign, but you don't have to lose your teeth. At the first hint of a loose tooth, see a dentist immediately. After a thorough examination, your dentist can determine the cause and severity, and he will present you with a treatment plan to save your teeth.

Learn more about keeping your mouth healthy in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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