Six Causes of Tooth Loss

Our teeth are like little pals who live in our mouths and help us talk, chew, and smile at the world. Losing a tooth is like losing a dear friend. 

But, what causes people to lose teeth? Here, we examine six of the reasons for tooth loss and offer some insights into underlying causes.


Any number of things can damage the face and consequently cause injury severe enough for the victim to lose a tooth. A car accident, for example, or a sports injury. If a tooth falls out and the person can’t return it to the socket and ‘hold’ it there until they get to the dentist, it should be placed in a cup of milk, since once it dries out, there is no possibility of reintroduction.


Sometimes a dental provider will pull teeth. While a dentist will never extract a tooth without careful deliberation, there are reasons to pull healthy teeth. Overcrowding, for example, will create risk for multiple teeth, in which case removing one will help the others. An example of this is an impacted wisdom tooth or baby teeth which refuse to fall out of their own and also cause risk to the other teeth.


Decay can be a problem for any person of any age. Regular care of the teeth and avoiding sugary foods can help keep teeth from decaying. Once a tooth decays past the pulp, a root canal may be able to save it, however, if this isn’t always successful.

Gum (periodontal)  Disease

Periodontal disease is by far the number one cause of tooth loss. Gum disease usually starts with gingivitis, which can then decline into periodontal disease. The upside is, healthy eating habits, good home dental care,  regular cleaning, and regular checkups will reduce or eliminate gum problems.

It's easy to forget how many decades teeth are expected to be useful.

It's easy to forget how many decades teeth are expected to be useful.

Old age

Osteoporosis, the effects of aging on immunity and a history of poor dental hygiene can cause dental problems in seniors.The good news is that people can practice good oral health habits at any age, which can help prevent future problems. While it’s still not fully understood, failing teeth are a definite sign of failing health in the elderly. 



Diabetes and cancer are two of many diseases which affect oral health by exacerbating gum problems and therefore putting teeth at risk. A transplant patient may also need an infected tooth removed so the infection doesn’t jeopardize the transplant. The effect of many chronic or even acute diseases is they weaken the body and make it susceptible to more secondary infections, including periodontitis.


Tooth loss cannot always be avoided, but often good dental practices make the difference between keeping or losing teeth.

In the event of tooth loss, a variety of replacement options are available, so the loss of one or more teeth won’t affect the rest of the teeth or the eating and nutrition of the individual. But, at the hands of a good dental team, the patient can soon be smiling at the world again. 

* * *

If you need a gentle, caring dental team, please call Dr. Fineberg's office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best dental care we can!

Green Thumb Local