And That's the Tooth - 7 Ways to Maintain Strong Teeth Into Your 50s and Beyond
Past generations seemed to be resigned to the fact that as you enter into the realms of late middle age, one needed to begin thinking about dentures.
As great as the advances in dental technology have been in recent years, the fact is, nothing beats having your own teeth and the time is NOW to begin a program of maintenance and care to ensure that your teeth will be serving you well for many years to come.
Unfortunately, in everyday life, there are many unseen or unsuspected tooth saboteurs, quietly eroding and degrading our teeth. As we age rotten, misaligned and missing teeth can not only impact on our general wellbeing, they can affect the structure of our face, aging us before our time.
The best multifaceted program to prevent tooth loss and decay is:
● Implementing a simple regimen of oral hygiene
● Understanding and avoiding culprits in our diet and lifestyle which undermine tooth health; and
● Nipping problems in the bud before they advance to loose or rotten teeth which are unsalvageable
An experienced professional dentist can spot issues before they become problems. If like me, you live in Melbourne’s East, there are some great dentists in Bentleigh which provide a comprehensive range of general, complex and cosmetic dentistry services.
We are often told the importance of calcium to tooth health but it is really only part of the story. Calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus work synergistically - meaning you need one for the others to be absorbed or work properly.
A balanced diet which contains sources of calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus should be consumed. Adequate amounts can be obtained through the following sources:
Calcium: milk and milk products, dark leafy vegetables, almonds, fish and grains.
Vitamin D: sunlight, milk, fish and egg yolk
Phosphorous: whole grains, nuts, eggs, dry fruits, garlic.
Keep it clean
Brush twice a day and floss to remove plaque build up. Over time, plaque can result in receding gums which cause teeth to become loose.
The younger the better
Begin taking care of your teeth early. Just like one bad apple can destroy the whole bunch so too can one rotted or missing tooth undermine all the others.
Research tells us that even low levels of dental caries in childhood can be significant to the amount of caries we get through the whole course of our lives. By limiting sugars to less than 5% of energy intake, research suggests we can minimise the risk of dental caries throughout the course of our life.
Many smokers are aware of cosmetic tooth staining caused by smoking but are surprised to find that smoking also damages the teeth. Smoking has been implicated as a causative factor in gum disease, tooth loss and in some instances, oral cancer. It increases plaque buildup and bone loss in the jaw.
A tooth in time, saves nine
Try to save rotted teeth. Once a tooth has been removed the gum starts shrinking as the socket heals. Furthermore, the bone is no longer holding the tooth so it can reabsorb and shrink also. This can affect neighbouring teeth, causing roots to be partially exposed, leaving them vulnerable to decay and sensitivity.
Not so sweet...
High levels of sugar in our food and drink causes bacteria which in turn release acid as a waste product - gradually destroying tooth enamel.
As we saw earlier, a diet high in sugar during childhood can have ramifications throughout life. In the UK alone, around 500 children per week between the ages of 5 and 9 are admitted to hospital due to tooth decay. It is the leading cause of hospitalisation in that age group - a tragic and avoidable statistic.
Tooth caries are not the only things undermining our teeth. Regularly inspect your mouth for swollen and red gums which can be a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. The longer plaque remains on teeth, the longer time it has to harden into tartar. The bacteria from these put gums at risk of infection.
With proper care, attention and maintenance, your teeth should remain in good working order well into old age. The advantages gained can be both better health and greater aesthetic appeal. It's never too late to begin taking care of your teeth - make it a priority to begin your quest for better teeth - today.