My ultimate goal as a dentist is to help patients keep their natural teeth until they’re 100 – and avoid getting dentures. While many of my older patients believe that dentures are a necessary evil, this just isn’t true! Your natural teeth can outlive you with proper dental care. The key is to take care of them and to find a dentist that has your long-term health in mind.
Below are five things you can do to enhance dental care and help keep your teeth until you’re 100:
- Floss at least once a day
Flossing is an important part of your dental care at any age and goes a long way in maintaining a strong and healthy mouth. If you aren’t doing so already, be sure to floss your teeth at least once a day. The best time to floss is before bed so that leftover food and debris does not sit in your mouth overnight and start causing decay. If you’ve had lots of dental work, using a water pic is also recommended in addition to flossing.
- Avoid patchwork dentistry
Think of your mouth like a house. When a problem arises, you have two options. You can patch it and hope for the best, or you can get to the root of the problem and fix the issue at hand. “Patching” dental issues will only get you so far. Eventually, patching a filling will no longer be an option and a crown will be necessary. So why not get the crown while your tooth is still strong? For the best dental care, always go with the most predictable long-term solution.
- Address gum problems in your 50s and 60s
Thinning gum tissue and gum recession can cause serious issues such as inflammation, decay and periodontal disease. To address this problem, I recommend that patients supplement their gum tissue with gum grafts. However, the older you get, the more difficult this surgery becomes. If you’ve been diagnosed with receding or thinning gums, don’t wait to have this procedure done. I highly recommend scheduling your gum graft procedure before you reach your 70s to ensure a more predictable procedure and speedy recover.
- Have your wisdom teeth removed
One prerequisite to keeping your teeth is that you need to be able to clean them and provide proper dental care. While many people believe that their wisdom teeth are not causing any issues, they are incredibly difficult to clean and are prone to decay. If you’re in your 60s or 70s and still have your wisdom teeth, talk to your dentist about your risk of decay. Not everyone will need their wisdom teeth removed. However, if you do, now is the time to have them removed before they cause any major issues.
- Avoid bridgework, if possible
For years, bridges have been used to address a gap between two teeth. However, in my experience the high risk of decay in the surrounding teeth often results in patients needing a partial denture. Today, I recommend that patients consider dental implants instead. Unlike bridges, implants don’t break and aren’t at risk of decay – offering patients more predictable dental care.
Want to avoid getting dentures? Now is the time to be proactive and take control of your dental health. Contact us today to find out how we improve your dental care and help you keep your teeth until you’re 100.