What It Really Means When Your Teeth Feel Loose

Sure, a loose tooth might be normal for a kid, but for an adult? A loose tooth isn't anything to get excited about.

Between the ages of 6-13, baby teeth (or primary teeth) fall out and make way for permanent teeth, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In total, there are 32 possible permanent teeth, including the wisdom teeth that may come in between 17-21 years old. Once they've grown in, they should stay put.

If they lose support and pull away from the bone and gums, however, they can start to feel loose (via Healthline). Other symptoms that can accompany loose teeth involve the gums: they can bleed, swell, become red, or recede. This is usually an indication that something more serious is going on. The top causes for loose permanent teeth are advanced gum disease, grinding the teeth, and injury. A dentist will be able to diagnose the issue with an oral exam.

Causes, treatments, and how to prevent loose teeth

Loose teeth are common warning signs of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease (via theĀ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). When plaque builds up on the teeth and it turns into tartar, it can only be removed by a dentist. If the tartar builds up for too long, it can cause the teeth to pull away from the gums, and bone can be lost. When this happens, teeth become loose. Other symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, pain when chewing, bleeding gums, and red or swollen gums. Gum disease can be treated with cleanings or surgery, but cannot be reversed.

Another cause for loose teeth can be due to unconscious teeth grinding (via Healthline). Clenching the jaw and teeth can lead to damage that eventually weakens the teeth. Other symptoms of teeth grinding include face pain and headaches. Wearing a mouthguard can help prevent this.

If you experience a blow to the face or impact as a result of an accident, the tissue may be damaged and the teeth may become loose (via Medical News Today). If this is the case, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Loose permanent teeth can be prevented by keeping the teeth and gums healthy by brushing twice a day, flossing once per day, getting professional cleanings twice a year, quitting smoking, and wearing a mouthguard as necessary (via Medical News Today).