Health Advice



Tooth loss truth: It’s no longer about the tooth fairy

Tien Jiang, DMD, MEd, Harvard Health Blog on

Published in Health & Fitness

If your tooth breaks but isn’t knocked out, call to consult your dentist, and schedule an appointment immediately. Keep the area clean by rinsing with warm water, especially if your gums are sore. If there are any sharp edges of the tooth, dental wax is available at most drugstores.

Social determinants of health and tooth loss

A study led by investigators at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine suggested that "machine-learning algorithm models incorporating socioeconomic characteristics were better at predicting tooth loss than those relying on routine clinical dental indicators alone."

Furthermore, new research reported that

Therefore, it is important to consider how disparities in access to and use of dental care impact not only tooth loss but also oral and overall health.

Prevention and oral health in the age of the pandemic


Tooth loss is not just about losing a tooth. It can significantly impact your quality of life, from affecting speech and self-esteem to restricting your diet (which can lead to either weight loss or obesity). Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in stress-related oral health conditions like teeth grinding and cracked or chipped teeth.

While the cause of tooth loss can be related to many things, it is largely preventable. You can avoid pain and losing your teeth with a few simple steps at home focused on limiting the amount of bacteria in your mouth and seeing your dentist regularly.

Lastly, while there may be concerns about returning to normal life during the pandemic, Americans should feel comfort in knowing that dental offices have remained safe, likely due to the fact that dentistry has been a leader in infection control even before COVID-19.

(Tien Jiang, DMD, MEd, is a contributor to Harvard Health Publications.)

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