What can I do to keep my teeth?

A lot of people ask me this question.  They’ve seen their parents or friends with dentures and they do not want to go down that road.  This is what I tell them:

Many people lose some if not all of their teeth because of gum disease.  Gum disease is an inflammatory response caused by certain strains and quantities of bacteria in the mouth.  These bacteria cause the body to react in ways that, over time, will make the jaw bone around the teeth recede and cause the teeth to get loose.  It also has been shown that these specific bacteria and corresponding inflammatory response can cause issues with a person’s heart and other internal organs.

Other factors that can contribute to tooth loss are trauma (a blow to the mouth), trauma from an inefficient and unbalanced bite or excessive clenching of the teeth (a bruxism habit).

What can you do to avoid losing your teeth?   First and foremost, get your gums healthy.  A dentist may determine you should have “scaling and root planning”, which is when a dentist or hygienist removes the buildup of toxins, bacteria and hard debris around the teeth and under the gums.  More advanced cases of gum disease may need more aggressive treatments.  How you care for your mouth at home is very important to the health of your gums and teeth.  Obviously brushing and flossing after meals is paramount to good oral health.  Other options include using a WaterPik or Ultrasonic toothbrush to remove bacteria and debris.

If your teeth are getting loose due to a biting issue, your dentist may determine that you need a “night guard or bruxism appliance” which is an appliance you wear mainly at night to protect your teeth.  Moving your teeth with braces or Invisalign into a more efficient bite may be an option.

You also need to care for your overall health.  Are you a smoker? Are you diabetic? Do you eat a lot of processed sugars in your diet?  These all lead to problems with your teeth and gums and should be addressed. 

The mouth is really an indication of what’s happening inside your body.  An unhealthy mouth may be an indication that serious health issues are present. 

As you can see, it is imperative to have healthy teeth and gums.  As an added benefit, you won’t have to worry about wearing those dentures.

Archer Katz

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