There are several reasons to hold on to your natural teeth for as long as you can. When you lose your teeth, the body reclaims some of the precious minerals from the area, and you suffer some bone loss from your jaw. In addition, while dentures and tooth implants have come a long way, they are expensive and take some getting used to. Here are ways to prevent tooth loss and keep your natural teeth alive for longer.
Vitamins for Strong Teeth
Calcium and vitamin D keep bones and teeth stronger and healthier. Foods high in calcium include dark green vegetables and dairy products. To get more vitamin D in your diet, eat fatty fish such as salmon, eggs, and cheese. Most adults don’t get sufficient quantities of calcium or vitamin D from diet alone, and so you should consider including supplements.
Prevent Enamel Erosion
Acidic food eats away at tooth enamel. Over time this leads to exposure of the soft tooth surface, the dentin, underneath. As the dentin is exposed, you will experience increased sensitivity, which may cause pain during brushing, eating food, or drinking. Eventually you will experience tooth decay with this condition.
Avoid enamel erosion by practicing good oral hygiene, using fluoride rinses and toothpastes, and limiting direct contact of acidic foods, such as fruit juices and sodas, with your teeth. One way to do this is to use a straw. Regular trips to the dentist can also help. Your dentist can spot problem areas on teeth before they turn into cavities, and suggest special mouth rinses and treatments to restore worn enamel.
Keeping Gums Healthy
Gum disease causes pain, swelling, and can progress from mild diseases, called gingivitis, to the severe form, called periodontitis. This latter form can lead to tooth loss as the supportive gum tissue and bone that hold the teeth are gradually destroyed.
According to Dr. David K Skeels, good dental hygiene is an important step in keeping gums healthy. Your mouth is full of bacteria and when the bacteria is not brushed and flossed away, plaque forms on the gum line. The more this occurs, the more bacteria collect on gums, eventually causing infection. Keep your gums healthy by brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Your dentist might also recommend you use a medicated mouthwash if you are genetically prone to plaque buildup. In addition to daily oral care, visit your dentist for professional tooth cleaning at least twice a year.
Many medications affect oral health by reducing saliva, and some diseases, such as diabetes, increase the risk of gum disease. Make sure to tell your dentist about your general health and all prescription medicines you are taking. You may need more frequent dental visits or specific mouth rinses or gels to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Keeping your teeth in good health is a full time job, but luckily not a hard one. As long as you do regular maintenance and avoid harsh acids you should be able to live a full life with a full set of teeth.