Any dentist will tell you—if they’re being honest—that dentures are a poor imitation of teeth. They don’t always sit securely in the mouth and they don’t do a very good job when it comes to chewing food. The truth is, there’s no substitute for real teeth. Once you get your adult teeth, they really need to last a lifetime.
It’s important to invest a little time and effort into caring for your teeth. You want to keep your natural teeth strong and healthy for as long as you possibly can. With that in mind, here are five basic strategies you can adopt that will help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.
1. First of all, take the time to learn about all the advancements that have taken place when it comes to dental care. For example, smaller cavities can now be re-calcified. What does it mean to re-calcify a cavity? Your dentist will take a concentrated fluoride paste and put it on the cavity. This will help to rebuild the enamel and effectively get rid of the cavity. You shouldn’t need a filling if the process works the way it’s supposed to. Re-calcification only works if you detect a cavity early, so you need to keep up with those dental check-ups!
2. Get your fillings, crown, and other dental restorations replaced every eight to 10 years. At the least, have them carefully checked for signs of recurrent cavities.
3. Now is the time to get rid of your old toothbrush and buy an electric one. The electric toothbrush can do a better job of brushing your teeth correctly than you can accomplish with a manual toothbrush. Brushing improperly can cause the gums to become inflamed and plaque to build up on the teeth.
3. Get a special night guard made if you grind your teeth. You can literally wear away the surface of your teeth if you grind them repeatedly at night. The supporting bone around a tooth can begin to break down, opening the door for gum recession and potentially tooth loss.
4. Use dental floss. It’s time to accept that flossing is as important as brushing and needs to be done every day. Flossing gets at food trapped between the tight spaces of your teeth. When tiny bits of food get stuck between teeth for days, it can lead to swelling and redness in the gums and tooth decay.
5. Know what type of dental patient you are. Are you prone to cavities? Are your teeth sensitive? Do your gums become easily inflamed? Take stock of your teeth and gums and build an appropriate tooth care program. For example, you may benefit from using a protective mouthwash or from using a particular type of dental floss. The other side of this equation is to choose a dentist that’s right for you. You want to find someone that makes you feel comfortable and that does good work so that there are no reasons to skip dental check-ups.
Following these healthy habits should go a long way towards keeping your teeth healthy and strong as you enjoy your senior years.
Apa, M., “5 ways to preserve your teeth as you age,” CNN web site, Dec. 10, 2013; http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/09/health/preserve-teeth-apa/index.html?hpt=he_t3; last accessed Dec. 11, 2013.
“Simple Tips to Protect Your Teeth,” Canadian Living web site; http://www.canadianliving.com/health/prevention/simple_tips_to_protect_your_teeth.php, last accessed Dec. 11, 2013.