Losing teeth is not really a part of the aging process. I tell my patients they were born with two sets of teeth, the second set being called permanent for a specific reason. They’re meant to be with us permanently. A lot of what happens to our teeth during our lifetime is a result of what we’ve done over time, the diet we choose, how well do we clean our teeth, do we get our teeth checked regularly and cleaned professionally. Do we use our teeth for things they’re not designed to be used for?
All these things take a toll. By far, one of the biggest threats is a sugary, starchy diet. This continually fuels the oral bacteria in the mouth to produce acids, causing gum problems and tooth decay. This in conjunction with poor oral hygiene is the road for tooth loss. What can a patient do to prevent tooth loss?
Monitor your diet. Try and limit your sugars and starch intake. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Visit your dentist annually for checkups, and you should get your teeth cleaned at least twice a year professionally. Don’t use your teeth for chewing ice or things they’re not designed to do. If you suffer from dry mouth, which is a common ailment today as it is a side effect of many prescription drugs, talk to your physician about maybe altering that medication.
Dry mouth can drastically increase your risk of tooth decay and gum problems and ultimately tooth loss. If you truly take care of your teeth, you will have your teeth a lifetime. I know in years past our grandparents may not have had their teeth a lifetime, but they didn’t have the advantages that we do today. They didn’t have the knowledge of home care that we do today, so they were at a disadvantage. We have no excuse.
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