Although the prevalence of partial and total tooth loss among Americans has decreased since 1970, tooth loss is still a problem for many Americans. A full grown adult has thirty-two teeth including four wisdom teeth. Many adults will have their wisdom teeth removed leaving them with twenty-eight teeth. According to the latest (1999-2004) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, American adults age twenty to sixty-four have an average of 24.92 remaining teeth. Americans over age sixty-five have an average of 18.90 remaining teeth. Twenty-seven percent of seniors over age sixty-five have no remaining teeth at all.
The best way to prevent tooth loss is to practice good oral hygiene at home and to receive regular general and preventative dental care. Good oral hygiene includes brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day. It is recommended that most healthy adults get a dental exam and dental cleaning every six months. Other preventative care such as fluoride treatments and sealants may be used to strengthen and protect teeth in children and young adults. Your lifestyle can also affect the longevity of your teeth. Smoking and the use of other tobacco products are risk factors for tooth loss and should be avoided.
If you are currently missing teeth, it is important to replace them to avoid damaging your existing teeth. Replacing missing teeth is also important for improving the appearance of your smile. For patients who have lost one or more teeth, there are several tooth replacement options available including bridges, partial dentures, full dentures and dental implants. To get more information about the tooth loss solutions available, contact a qualified dentist in your local area. He or she can sit down with you, discuss the different options and help determine which one best suits your needs as well as your budget.
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