Teeth help you to eat, speak properly and flash a beautiful smile. Thankfully, teeth are strong – but they are not indestructible. There are times when you may lose one through trauma or disease. A lot of people also think that you lose teeth naturally as you get older.
In fact, while the human body does start to deteriorate with age, tooth loss isn’t an inevitable part of that. Look after your teeth with a few precautionary measures, and you can keep them intact for as long as possible.
What happens when you get older?
Looking after your oral health should be a priority, as keeping all your natural teeth has many benefits. Dentures may move and are not as strong as natural teeth, making eating and chewing harder. In addition, there is a relationship between the use of dentures and an increase in gum recession in older patients, as a study published in The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry shows.
Gum disease, broken teeth, and cavities are also common problems experienced by older people. According to the American National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, gum or periodontal disease is actually one of the main causes of tooth loss in seniors.
Things you can do to maintain healthy teeth
The good news is that all these problems can be prevented or treated if you catch them in time, and take steps to care for your teeth properly. Here’s how.
1. Practice good oral hygiene
This is one of the most important measures you can take against tooth loss. Your mouth is naturally full of bacteria. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, it can accumulate on your teeth over time as tartar, eventually contributing to cavities and gum disease. Cavities can destroy your teeth, sometimes to the point where you’ll need a tooth extraction if not treated in time.
Tartar can be removed by your dentist, and you can help prevent problems by brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes using toothpaste. Flossing once a day is also advisable, as sometimes small pieces of food get trapped in between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach.
2. Maintain a good diet
Go easy on what will damage your teeth, and favour eating what will make them stronger. For example, eating too many foods high in sugar can have a negative effect on your teeth and contribute to cavities, while taking calcium and vitamin D can aid in strengthening your teeth. Chewing sugarless gum can also help protect your teeth due to the production of saliva, and it’s a good idea not to eat right before you go to bed.
3. Avoid smoking
It’s no secret that smoking is another cause of tooth loss. Smoking can not only discolour your teeth, it can give also you bad breath and dry your mouth, accelerating the growth of bacteria. Smoking can also contribute to gum disease, increased jawbone loss and the possibility of developing oral cancer.
4. Keep an eye out for teeth grinding
Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, contributes to weaker teeth that don’t work as well as they should. If you notice you grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist, who may suggest a mouth guard.
5. Go for regular check-ups
Do not put off going to the dentist. It is important to schedule regular check-ups at least once every six months. You’ll get a good clean, and most importantly, the dentist can make sure that any problems are found early. The sooner you get issues checked out, the easier and less costly they are likely to be to fix.
If you’re looking for a dentist in Sydney to help you maintain your teeth as you age, contact us. We offer excellent dental care in Ryde, in a friendly and caring practice.
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