Losing a tooth is an exciting milestone for children, but for adults it’s a painful and worrisome reminder of many things we’d rather forget: aging, illness, and all those warning signs we’ve been ignoring.
Aging actually gets a bad rap with it comes to teeth. It’s oral disease, not the aging process, that causes tooth loss. Though many people expect to lose teeth as they age and don’t take action against it, the good news is that there’s no reason why people can’t keep their teeth for their whole lifetime. Here are 5 tips for keeping your teeth healthier longer.
1. See the dentist regularly
Regular dental checkups aren’t just for kids, and according to a recent study published in the Journal of Dental Research, everyone who thought adults don’t need regular checkups should think again. The study suggests that for the whopping 65 million adults over age 30 who have a form of chronic inflammatory gum disease – and that’s more than half the over-30 population – two visits a year just isn’t enough to prevent tooth loss.
2. Maintain good hygiene and go for the fluoride
Lots of people think dental hygiene gets less important as we age and consider fluoride as something that’s only important for kids. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, that attitude couldn’t be more wrong; oral hygiene is absolutely crucial to avoiding tooth loss, and studies show that adults who use a fluoride toothpaste, rinse or gel keep their teeth longer.
3. Snack selectively
Avoiding sugary foods and drinks is as important for your teeth as it is for your waistline. When simple sugars break down in the mouth they produce acids that erode tooth enamel, opening the door to cavities and decay. Sticky sweets and sugary drinks should be avoided, and carbonated sugary drinks are the worst culprits of all because they increase acidity.
4. Get plenty of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is good for more than preventing the common cold. In fact one of its most important functions is preventing dental problems like periodontal disease, a painful and hard-to-eradicate condition in which the gums deteriorate and teeth are lost. Dental problems are one of the primary signs of vitamin C deficiency in adults, so make sure you get plenty of C every day.
5. Don’t smoke
If you needed any additional reasons why smoking is a bad idea, here’s one you may not have known about: smoking is really, really bad for your teeth. The Centers For Disease Control say that smokers are at double the risk for gum disease, the longer you smoke the greater your risk, and the lower the chances that treatment will be successful.