Your teeth are built with a tiny amount of give due to the elastic ligaments that hold them in place. The small amount of movement is almost imperceptible, so if you’re aware of your teeth moving around, it’s likely because there’s a problem. There are two common causes of loose teeth: gum disease and a bad bite.

How Gum Disease Causes Loose Teeth

dreamstime_s_19642068Gum disease is when bacteria begin to grow in the area between your teeth and gums. When this happens, the acid that bacteria excrete–the same acid that eats away your teeth and causes cavities–causes gum injury. Your gums become red, swollen, and tender. They probably bleed when your brush and floss. As the bacteria grow, they drive a wedge between your gums and your teeth and can destroy the ligaments that hold your teeth in and the bones that brace them. This is when you start to notice your teeth are loose.

At a certain point, your body calls out its last line of defenses, an immune response that destroys both bacteria and your own tissue, and that’s when it’s likely that you will lose teeth. When you start to notice your teeth are loose, it’s important to check with a dentist about gum disease.

How Bad Bite Causes Loose Teeth

But what if your dentist says you don’t have gum disease, but you’re still experiencing loose teeth. Then you have to investigate other causes, such as a bad bite, which is related to TMJ.

In a healthy bite, your teeth should be subjected to force evenly, and never too much. However, if you have a bad bite, your teeth may fit together in such a way that some teeth are subjected to excessive force.

Excessive bite force can stretch the ligaments holding your teeth in place, but they can also change the shape of your bone. It’s the same thing that happens with braces: repeated force encourages your body to remodel the bones around your teeth, which can cause them to drift, but also leads to loosening.

What to Do if Your Teeth Are Loose

If you are experiencing loose teeth, you need to talk to a dentist. Although a general dentist may be able to help you with gum disease, a neuromuscular dentist can help correct a bad bite.

For help with both these causes of loose teeth, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC neuromuscular dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.