Loose Teeth

What Causes Loose Teeth?

Loose teeth can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose loose teeth, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "loose teeth" as a symptom.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Osteoporosis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
losing teeth to periodontal disease
wearing dirty dentures while awake
having poor posture
slight diffuse bone pain
long-term low-carb dieting
loss of height
gums that bleed easily
low alcohol consumption
history of stress fractures
limited lifetime sun exposure
caffeinated soft drink consumption
high dairy product consumption
... and so on

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of loose teeth:
Cause Probability Status
Periodontal Disease 99% Confirm
Osteoporosis 58% Possible
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Mouth/Oral Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about loose teeth:
Are any of your teeth noticeably loose? A very small amount of tooth movement is normal. Only mention movement that seems to be more than it used to be or which is accompanied by pain. Do not include teeth that are loose due to past trauma/injury.
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Yes, one
→ 2-4
→ More than 4 teeth
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no loose teeth, one loose tooth, a few loose teeth or many loose teeth, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Osteoporosis - Osteopenia

The brittle bone disease osteoporosis affects all the bones in your body – including your jaw bone – and can cause tooth loss.  Several studies show that people with loose or weak teeth are at increased risk for developing osteoporosis.
[J Bone Miner Res.  1993 (Dec); 8 (Suppl 2): pp.S443-S606]
[J Am Dent Assoc.  1993; 124: pp.49-56]
[J Bone Miner Res.  1994; 9 (Suppl 1): p.S211]
[Lancet Editorial 1995 (April 8); 345: pp.876]

Periodontal Disease - Gingivitis

As gingivitis progresses, the gums recede and bacteria break down the supporting structure of bone.  Teeth loosen, sometimes causing a change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together when biting down or a change in the fit of partial dentures.

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