While dental implants are an excellent choice in replacing teeth that have been lost or severely damaged, they will never have the same benefits as your natural teeth. Maintaining healthy teeth is a difficult task, and even with the most diligent care and maintenance, your teeth may still develop cavities and other dental issues. One of the reasons why maintenance is not always enough to ensure healthy teeth is because heredity plays just as much of a role in your dental health as it does in your physical health. That being said, even though oral care may not be foolproof, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put your complete focus into maintaining and saving your teeth.
We are taught from a young age that broken and lost teeth will not come back. Unfortunately, once they are gone, they’re gone, and you will be left considering alternative options such as dentures or dental implants. No one wants to get to that stage; however, the only way to prevent that from happening is to take proper care of your teeth. The majority of dental concerns, such as cavities and periodontal disease, stem from two factors: diet and poor at-home oral health. Fortunately, both of these are easy adjustments.
Your diet is essential to and influential in every aspect of your health, including the health of your teeth. Foods that are high in sugar, such as soda, juice, candy, bread, and overly acidic fruits and foods, lead to cavities and enamel erosion. When these cavities are not handled in an appropriate timeframe, they can lead to the necessity for more invasive dental procedures or tooth loss. To keep your teeth healthy, you must be aware of what you are eating. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to completely cut all sugar from your diet as sugar is an ingredient in almost all foods, even healthy ones. So instead of eliminating sugar, you should consume it in moderation, and if you know that you had a substantial amount of sugary foods or drinks, then be sure to practice good oral care afterward.
At-Home Oral Care
Improper at-home oral care is a leading cause of periodontal disease and eventual tooth loss. As easy as it is, proper oral care is something that many men and women do not take seriously. At-home oral care simply means proper brushing and flossing. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Proper brushing techniques include using a soft toothbrush and brushing your teeth gently and in circular motions. Brushing your teeth too hard can create further dental damage. In addition to brushing, you should floss your teeth at least once a day, if not twice.
Flossing, either with traditional floss or a Waterpik® Water Flosser will help to ensure that no food particles or bacteria form or collect between your teeth. Additional practices, such as rinsing with mouthwash, are also good habits for saving and protecting your teeth.
When brushing your teeth, make sure you:
- Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums
- Move the brush gently in circular motions
- Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of the teeth
- For the inside surface of the front teeth (the upper and lower incisors), place your toothbrush vertically and brush in an up-and-down motion
- Brush your tongue to prevent bad breath and bacteria from developing
Additional factors that lead to tooth loss include smoking and tobacco use, medication, stress, and grinding your teeth. Smoking presents a laundry list of health concerns, including the fact that it will damage your teeth and lead to eventual tooth loss. Additionally, grinding your teeth is a common practice when sleeping.
If you are a grinder, then you should invest in a mouth guard to wear while you sleep to protect the health and quality of your teeth. Unfortunately, medication and stress are more challenging to get a handle on because they are sometimes out of your control. If your teeth are suffering due to medication that you require, then the best you can do is be aware of your diet and the way you take care of your teeth. Lastly, you should always remember to schedule and have regular professional dental examinations and cleanings.
“Forgetting” to go to the dentist is a common excuse given by many patients. While dental visits may not always be the most fun thing to do, they are vital to maintaining the quality of your teeth. Bi-annual check-ups and cleanings can help to ensure that your natural teeth remain your only teeth.
For more information on protecting your smile, contact Dr. Salamati by calling (310) 275-1090 to set up a consultation.