There are some people who think tooth loss with age is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s possible to keep your natural teeth for a lifetime.
And we’re not just talking theoretically here. We have the proof: our 92-year-old patient who says, “I’m 92, still kicking, and still have all of my teeth, thanks to Dr. Mejia.”
Want to know how you can enjoy this kind of oral health? We’ll tell you.
Regular Checkups and Cleanings
Your regular preventive dental care is probably the most important thing you can do to maintain your teeth for life. Cleanings and checkups every six months allow us to remove tartar from your teeth and help keep gum disease under control.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults, and unless we head it off, it’s likely to cost you one or more teeth.
Your six-month checkups also allow us to identify dental problems when they’re small, which is also important.
Treat Dental Problems Immediately
Dental problems start small, but grow over time. The longer you put off treating dental problems, the more likely they are to turn into big problems. A small cavity becomes a big cavity, which weakens the tooth. A big cavity leads to an infected tooth, which requires a root canal. An infected tooth loses bone support and fails. Each step in this chain increases the risk that the tooth will be lost.
But if the cavity is treated when it’s small, you have a very good chance of retaining that tooth for life.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene at Home
Tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss can all be caused by the buildup of oral bacteria on your teeth and gums. Brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day can help you keep bacteria off your teeth and maintain a healthy mouth.
Eat a Healthy Diet
What you eat has a significant impact on the health of your teeth. You want to make sure your teeth get all the nutrients they need and oral bacteria don’t get too much of the fuel they need to grow and attack your teeth with acid.
This means eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and getting good, balanced protein, such as meat. And avoiding eating too much sugar. Sugar is easily processed by oral bacteria, so it causes them to grow rapidly and encourages tooth decay.
Smoking is very unhealthy for your mouth. It reduces the ability of your mouth to fight bacteria, encourages the growth of bacteria, and restricts the resources your body has to repair damage to teeth and gums.
Smoking and other forms of tobacco use increase your risk of tooth loss threefold or more.
Unfortunately, when it comes to your health, there are some things you can control, and some you can’t. You might do everything right, and still lose one or more teeth. It may happen dramatically, such as in a car accident. Or it may happen subtly, perhaps due to genetic risk factors we don’t fully understand.
But, as E. Mode says (loosely paraphrasing Pasteur), “Luck favors the prepared.” If you are looking for a Westchester dentist who can help you prepare for a lifetime with all your natural teeth, please call (914) 526-2144 today for an appointment at Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake.