More than 20 million Americans are missing all of their teeth, and another 10 million are missing all of their upper teeth. Many of these people wear dentures. These custom-made, removable replacements for missing teeth are usually made from acrylic resin. If you don’t want to join these people, here are some preventative steps you can take to avoid tooth loss.
1. Brush Your Teeth Regularly
Not brushing your teeth properly or, worse, not brushing them at all, results in gum disease and tooth decay — two of the leading causes of denture wear. The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush, which should let you reach all areas of your mouth easily. An old toothbrush with broken bristles won’t clean your teeth properly, so replace your brush every three or four months.
2. Use a Fluoride-Based Toothpaste
Don’t forget to use a fluoride-based toothpaste, either. Fluoride prevents plaque — the bacteria that sit on your teeth and gums and causes disease and decay. Fluoride also strengthens your tooth enamel, which makes up the outer layer of your teeth. Ultimately, fluoride toothpaste slows down the tooth decay process and makes sure important minerals stay on your enamel, keeping your teeth strong and healthy.
3. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Your dentist is more important to your overall oral health than you might think. Aside from checking for cavities and fixing broken teeth, a good dentist carries out a full examination of your mouth and gums, looking for telltale signs of gum disease and tooth decay.
Visiting your dentist regularly — this could be as frequent as every three to four months or as little as once a year, depending on the condition of your teeth — could prevent denture wear. Your dentist can also identify signs of oral cancer and other life-threatening conditions.
4. Visit a Hygienist, Too
Seeing a dental hygienist is just as important as visiting your dentist. These professionals remove plaque and calculus (a type of hardened dental plaque) with specialist cleaning tools, leaving your teeth cleaner and healthier. Dental hygienists can also provide you with tips on how to better care for your oral health, such as the correct way to brush your teeth and the importance of flossing.
Making regular appointments with your dentist and a hygienist could reduce the chances of your teeth falling out and prevent you from having to wear dentures.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
The food you consume could have an effect on your oral health. Dentists recommend that you maintain a balanced diet that contains all of the essential vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium, which keeps your jaw bones healthy and prevents tooth loss. Try to avoid sugary snacks and processed foods. Bacteria in your mouth live on the sugar you consume from these foods and destroy your tooth enamel.
Tooth loss from decay and gum disease could result in you having to wear dentures. That’s why it’s important to care for your teeth and improve your oral health. Brushing your teeth regularly, using a fluoride-based toothpaste, visiting your dentist regularly, visiting a hygienist when needed, and eating healthy foods could stop your teeth falling out and dramatically improve your dental hygiene.