How to Keep All Your Teeth All of Your Life
George Washington became president at age 57 in 1789 and he had only one of his original teeth left in his mouth by that time, even though he had been absolutely fastidious regarding his oral health. Tooth decay, poor diet and other factors contributed to his tooth loss, as they did to most people of the time – most of Washington’s peers were just like him: losing teeth as adults at what we would consider today to be an alarming rate.
Oral hygiene techniques and services have improved dramatically since Washington’s time (thank you, fluoride!). Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control, by the time they are just three years older than Washington was at his inauguration, 25 percent of American’s age 60 and older have lost all of their teeth
Let us boldface that: 25 percent of Americans today aged 60 and older have lost all of their teeth.
That’s today, in the middle of the 2010s. That’s an astounding figure, considering how advanced oral hygiene services and tools are today.
In fact, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to keep all of your adult teeth throughout your life (barring any accidents).
Read below to learn how.
- Tooth loss is not a normal part of the aging process. Tooth loss is a result of oral disease, and oral disease is pretty easy to keep at bay.
- Regular dental visits for cleaning and x-rays are essential in preventing tooth loss. Your dentist will remove plaque from your teeth that regular brushing and flossing just can’t remove. (Plaque can lead to gingivitis which can worsen to oral disease, which eventually can lead to tooth loss.)
- Regular dental checkups are even more important as you age because many older people suffer from dry mouth, which cuts down on the amount of saliva that flows into your mouth. Saliva actually helps move food particles and plaque out of your mouth, so it’s an important ingredient in your fight against tooth loss.
- Dry mouth also can come about from the use of certain medications. Your dentist can treat dry mouth.
- Floss at least twice daily and floss at least once a day. Brushing three times a day and flossing twice a day is even better.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is something of a wonder substance when it comes to preventing tooth decay (and therefore the tooth loss that can occur as a result of tooth decay).
- Ask your dentist about fluoride rinses and gels.
- Avoid sugary and starchy foods.
- Understand that a tooth-loss prevention procedure known as an endodontic procedure (a root canal), may be in your future as you reach middle age. It helps prevent tooth loss. The procedure is a sequence of treatment for taking care of the infected pulp of your tooth, resulting in the elimination of the infection and protecting the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion. The procedure can involve at least two trips to your dentist, but can truly protect your teeth, helping them last a lifetime.
Many people look at regular visits to their Plano dentist as chores. We prefer to look at them as small steps to take in order to keep your teeth disease-free – and firmly rooted in your mouth – your entire life.
Contact Plano dentist Dr. Darren Dickson by phone to schedule an appointment. You also can e-mail the office at [email protected].