Preserving Teeth

Published on July 19, 2013 by

PRESERVING TEETH FOR A LIFETIME

It is very possible today to keep your teeth healthy and strong your entire life. The following steps are a helpful guideline (not a comprehensive instruction manual) for how to achieve that goal.

  • BRUSH AND FLOSS DAILY Two minutes on top and two minutes on the bottom. Most dental disease is caused by the bacteria (mouth dust) that live in our mouths and collect on our tooth surfaces. Tooth decay, gum disease and bone loss around the roots of teeth is caused by this bacteria.
  • DON’T FEED THE BACTERIA too often. Keeping caloric things (e.g. candy, ginger ale, coffee or tea with sugar, etc.) in the mouth too frequently during the day will increase your rate of tooth decay. Water is the safest choice, as it has no calories. Remember, as long as you have teeth you are in your cavity prone years.
  • BE AWARE OF CHANGES in your eating or drinking habits that would increase how often you feed the bacteria. Try and keep these under control.
  • DON’T USE YOUR TEETH AS TOOLS Don’t: Chew Ice, open packages, bite fingernails, and don’t crack unpopped popcorn kernels (or the like) with your teeth.
  • WEAR SEAT BELTS Impact injuries sustained in a car accident can destroy a mouth full of healthy teeth.
  • WEAR A MOUTH-GUARD If you participate in any sport in which you may be hit in the face (basketball, soccer, football, hockey, etc.) wear proper protection. If you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep, wear a night guard to prevent long term damage.
  • DON’T GRIND OR CLENCH YOUR TEETH. Teeth are not meant to touch. Consciously keeping them apart will prevent tooth wear and ease some head and neck pain. Consider a stock or custom night guard to prevent this while asleep. Most importantly, be mindful of your stress and anxiety levels. Managing stress, whatever the source, will prevent you from taking it out on your teeth.
  • CONTROL STOMACH ACID IN THE MOUTH Stomach acid can destroy tooth structure very quickly. Throwing up as a method of weight control or due to frequent illness will lead to catastrophic tooth loss. Severe acid reflux into the mouth can also cause severe decay. If you do throw up frequently or have acid in the mouth, rinse frequently with water to dilute the acid.
  • REGULARLY SCHEDULE HYGIENE AND EXAM VISITS. Frequency will vary from every six to every three months depending on the present state of your dental health, your past dental history, and how religious you are in brushing your teeth.
  • DON’T PUT BABIES TO SLEEP WITH JUICE OR MILK BOTTLES This will quickly result in what is known as “baby bottle decay” or “bottle caries”. Breastfeeding mothers should also be careful not the let baby fall asleep while breastfeeding. This results in what is now being called “breastfeeding caries”.
  • AVOID ABRASIVE DENTAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS While regular brushing and flossing are good for oral health, using highly abrasive toothpaste (often labeled as “whitening”) and hard bristle brushes can actually wear away tooth structure, doing more harm to teeth. A soft bristle brush with a low abrasive paste or liquid will get your teeth just as clean and help preserve tooth structure.
  • TREAT CHRONIC DRY MOUTH Dry Mouth, often caused by underlying medical conditions, or medications can increase a person’s risk of gingivitis, tooth decay and mouth infections. Stimulating the salivary glands with sugar free gum chewing, frequent SMALL sips of water to wet the oral mucosa, and using OTC comforting agents for dry mouth are a few ways to treat this chronic problem.

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Published on July 12, 2013 by

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