Did you know that it is not aging but the wear and tear of our oral tissues as we age that causes tooth loss? And maintaining healthy oral habits can definitely keep your gums and teeth in place, even as your skin is wrinkling and your tresses are turning grey.
Here are 5 things you can do to retain your teeth for longer:
1. Proper brushing technique – You must have often heard or read about the importance of brushing twice a day, but did they tell you how to brush? If all you do is rub your teeth harshly twice a day with a toothbrush, you are likely to lose them sooner than you expect.
A medium or soft toothbrush must be used to clean your teeth in short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline and posterior teeth. Also, keep in mind that excessive brushing force can lead to tooth and gingival abrasion, and cause tooth mobility over time.
2. Avoid cavities – A few grey hairs do not warrant a caries-free life ahead (unless of course, you don’t have any teeth left to develop caries). You can go without brushing after every meal if you simply rinse your mouth well enough to ensure there are no food deposits. Dental caries can develop in older patients around old fillings and the neck of the tooth, which becomes more vulnerable with the receding gingiva.
Flossing, fluoride rinses, and regular cleaning sessions at the dentist are also helpful in keeping a check on caries.
3. Don’t delay dental work – Do not delay your dental treatments any further. A missing tooth can cause other teeth to drift in its place, causing more spaces in the rest of the arch and making teeth more vulnerable. Superficial caries can progress to root canal stage, and gingival problems may progress to periodontal disease.
If you are living with what seem as minor dental problems only because you think dental work is too expensive, know that holding up dental treatment can cost you several times more not only in terms of money, but also in terms of your dental as well as general health.
Whether you get an affordable dental implant in India, or you choose to go to Thailand for your dental bridge, plan your treatment right away.
4. Quit smoking – Besides causing bad breath and discoloration in teeth, long-term smoking causes bone loss, leukoplakia, and the increased risk of oral cancer.
If you have been puffing through your teens, twenties, thirties, and still have a decent set of teeth, consider yourself lucky. But don’t take them for granted. It should be comforting to know that the risk of tooth loss is known to lower once you stop smoking.
5. Eat healthy – Your general health impacts the health of your aging mouth and conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic stress, and others that are more common in later life are known to adversely affect the health of your teeth and periodontium.
Fiber rich foods, which are good for your bowels, are also good for teeth. Also, include calcium-fortified juices, milk, and other dairy products to get your dose of calcium and Vitamin D for healthy teeth and bones.
Besides, do not wait for a tooth problem to escalate to a level where you can barely eat or peak before you visit the dentist. Regular dental check-ups are advisable because early detection of an impending dental disease can help nip it right in the bud, giving you a longer dental life.
It is estimated that over 75% of the adults above 35 have certain gum problems, which are only going to worsen if not treated. Ofcourse, advancements in dental science and the availability of sophisticated dental treatments have made our lives easier but nothing can match the comfort and feel of your natural dentition. Ask someone who has to go through life wearing dentures!
Dr. Deepika Garg – from healthcare facilitator UniMed Travels that assists patients with low-
cost dental treatments in India and other countries