As you age it becomes even more critical to take care of your teeth. One common misconception about dental health when aging is that losing your teeth is inevitable. This is not true. If cared for properly, your natural teeth can last a lifetime. Still, every day wear and tear takes a toll on your teeth as you age so it is important to see your dentist on a regular basis to maintain your pearly whites!
One of the most common misconceptions people have about their teeth is that they will fall out as they age or that they will break. This is not the case! According to the ADA, the primary cause of tooth loss is gum disease, not age. When the gums surrounding our teeth become inflamed, they can no longer properly retain the teeth, and hence they may become loose. Gum disease is usually the result of poor oral hygiene, but other risk factors include diabetes and heart disease, which are common as we age. To prevent gum disease and maintain the health of your teeth, be sure and schedule regular cleaning appointments. These appointments are important to your overall oral health, as they also serve as an opportunity for your dentist to discover any discrepancies before they become bigger problems.
By far, the greatest threat to the health of our teeth is sugary foods. These sugars ferment in our mouth, causing acids to form that result in tooth decay. Most of us assume that candy is the main culprit, but were you aware sports drinks and sodas are an even bigger threat? The constant stream of sugar provides a favorable environment for bacteria to convert those sugars to acids. We realize that you may have a craving for sweets from time to time, but there are some healthy habits you could adopt to protect the health of your oral cavity. For example, chewing sugar free gum curbs your sweet craving and also increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, flushing out food particles and preventing any decay. Another healthy option is dark chocolate, as the antioxidants in dark chocolate have been found to prevent cavities.
Also, did you know that as we age our teeth become less receptive to pain? This means that if you get a cavity, you may not even realize it until you are in severe pain and require a root canal. To prevent unnecessary root canals, consider visiting your dentist for regular checkups. The dentist is well equipped to catch the cavities that you may not even be aware you have, saving you both time and money in the future!
The common thread in all these problems is that preemptive visits your dentist is mandatory to maintain good oral health, and as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”