You love your smile and you want it to last. After all who wishes to have a smile comprised of dentures and false teeth when they’re older? A lifetime commitment to good oral health is the best way to lengthen the life of your natural teeth. While there can be unplanned trauma that can occur to one’s teeth, having a beautiful, natural smile in one’s old age is in the complete control of the patient. That’s right, only you have the power to prevent premature tooth loss.
What is Preventative Dentistry?
Many dentists offer a service called preventative dentistry. This is preferable to the commonly utilized restorative dentistry. Preventative dentistry is just what it sounds like. This type of dentistry involves the employment of dental care techniques that prevent the growth of plaque and tartar that causes tooth decay and gum disease. A comprehensive examination of the mouth, including an oral cancer screening and x-rays, and a thorough, deep cleaning are the common preventative dental options used. Other preventative dental procedures may include the issuance of a sports mouth guard for athletes and a night sleep guard for those with Bruxism. The goal of preventative dentistry is to preserve the health and strength of the teeth and gums to discourage the development of plaque and tartar and make the teeth and gums more resistant against decay and disease.
Proper at-home oral hygiene is also needed for tooth decay and gum disease prevention. This form of dental care involves daily tooth brushing and flossing. It is recommended that one brushes his or her teeth twice a day for two minutes each time using fluoride toothpaste and a soft to medium toothbrush. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months to avoid reintroducing stuck-on germs into the mouth. If you’ve been sick, change out your toothbrush afterwards to prevent getting yourself sick again. Gentle, yet firm circular motions over the teeth and gums are a recommended way to clean one’s mouth. Applying too much pressure or brushing too harshly can irritate and damage soft gum tissue and scrape off tooth enamel.
A twice daily good oral hygiene routine done at home and routinely seeing the dentist every six months is the best recommended preventative dentistry measures one can take to ensure a longer life for their smile.
The Smile and Age
One’s smile undergoes natural changes as one ages. Good, routine oral hygiene is especially important for young children and older adults. For young children, their teeth are still developing and growing in. Good oral hygiene that is established early can set a child up with strong teeth and gums for their adult life. After a certain age, one’s bone tissue in the jaw begin to naturally deteriorate and become brittle. The jawbone is what holds the teeth in place and keeps them secure when chewing. Regardless of whether you have a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits and a healthy diet, you can still lose your teeth simply because of diminished jaw bone density. The teeth themselves can also become more sensitive and brittle from a lifetime of wear and tear, which, combined with the lack of dexterity common for older adults, can make teeth more vulnerable to cavities.
While teeth and bone density naturally diminish in one’s older age, a lifetime practice and commitment to preventative dental care can help prolong the life of your smile and lower one’s risk of dental issues.
If it has been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, contact your dentist today to schedule your routine cleaning and examination.