As a dentist, my ultimate goal is to help patients reach 100 years of age with their natural teeth. This may seem out of reach, but I think more and more people are believing this is possible and are looking for ways to achieve this for themselves. The key to maintain healthy teeth until you’re 100 is to avoid common behaviors that negatively impact your oral health.
Things To Avoid To Have Healthy Teeth
Below are the most common barriers I see keeping patients from having healthy teeth and gums.
Smoking and healthy teeth are two things that don’t go together. That’s because the nicotine in cigarettes affects your capillaries, which impacts the blood flow to your jaw. Without the proper blood flow to your jaw, your teeth and bone will not get the nutrients they need to thrive. This most often results in periodontal disease. If you want to keep your teeth healthy, quitting smoking is the first step.
Poor oral hygiene
Remember the old saying “only floss the teeth you want to keep?” Well, it’s true. People who are not in the habit of flossing their teeth will have problems more often and faster than those who are. It’s also important to brush your teeth twice a day to remove food and plaque. This is especially important before bed, as food will have more time to create the acids that lead to cavities if left overnight.
Missing regular dental cleanings
It’s a common misconception that dental cleanings are only intended to clean your teeth – something many people believe they do well enough at home. Cleanings are also a time to check in with your oral health and make sure you are maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Catching problems early will result in more predictable, less invasive treatment, and will also help you save money in the long run.
A diet that is high in sugar
One of the worst things you can do for your teeth is regularly drink soda, sweet tea and other beverages that are filled with sugar. These drinks lead to very specific cavities that wrap around the whole tooth, and people with a soda habit will regularly need fillings, crowns and root canals. That’s not to say no one who drinks soda will have healthy teeth, but those who do are in the minority.
A diet that is high in acid
Foods that are high in acid, such as citrus, can also negatively impact your teeth. Overtime, these foods will eat away at your enamel, which cannot be replaced once it is gone. Your teeth only have so much enamel, and it needs to last a lifetime. People who have erosion from acidic foods will eventually need porcelain to replace the missing enamel.
Clenching and grinding teeth
Clenching and grinding your teeth will also slowly remove the tooth’s enamel. Grinding will result in the slow loss of enamel, while clenching can be more acute. In fact, you can generate enough force while clenching to crack your tooth right down the middle. There are several reasons you may be grinding or clenching your teeth, but stress is typically the number one culprit. If you have either one of these problems, there are ways to maintain healthy teeth, such as a nightguard.
An important factor in keeping your teeth until you’re 100 is receiving high quality dental care. Dentists are often working in millimeters, and one move in the wrong direction can result in a poor fit that can cause pain and diminish the lifespan of the restoration. If you’re constantly having dental work redone, it may be time to find a new dentist.
Doing long-span bridges instead of implants
One of the biggest barriers I see to keeping your teeth until 100 is placing a long-span bridge to replace several teeth instead of implants. With a long-span bridge, the anchor teeth take on the load of the missing teeth. The longer the bridge is, the greater the stress on those teeth. When those teeth fail, the only other option is a partial or denture, which is as far away from your natural teeth as you can get.
Not following through on recommended treatments
When I see patients who require a great deal of dental work, the first step to addressing their needs is to establish a treatment plan. However, it’s not uncommon that patients will leave with this plan and not schedule the recommended treatment. They think because they are not in pain, the treatment is not urgent. If you want to maintain healthy teeth until you’re 100, it’s important to stay one step ahead of things. Treating problems early will result in less invasive, less expensive treatments and more predictable outcomes.
Looking to keep your teeth until you’re 100?
Avoiding the behaviors covered in this article is the first step to maintaining a healthy smile throughout your lifetime. If you’re unsure of where your dental health stands, schedule an appointment with dentist office in Brandon, FL. We’ll be happy to go over your treatment needs and establish a plan that works for you.