Your smile is often the first thing people notice, but if you have missing teeth, they’ll notice that too. Keeping your smile healthy and beautiful takes some effort, and as you grow older, there are more precautions you should take to prevent losing your teeth.
Dr. Hannah Baek and her team at Healthy Smile Dental in Woodbridge, Illinois, believe prevention is supremely important when it comes to maintaining a natural, healthy smile. We offer a range of services to help you protect your oral health, as well as cosmetic dentistry options.
Before you consider teeth whitening or other options to enhance your smile’s appearance, let’s talk about risks to your teeth and how to prevent tooth loss as you grow older.
Among the several factors that contribute to adult tooth loss, decay is undoubtedly the most common.
Food particles and bacteria can build up on your teeth and lead to the formation of small holes, called cavities, in your enamel. This can allow bacteria to enter the softer, more sensitive portion of your tooth and cause inflammation and pain. If your infection becomes severe, you may need a root canal to remove the infected material and save your tooth.
Other leading causes of adult tooth loss include:
Next to dental decay, periodontal disease is another leading cause of adult tooth loss. Frequently called gum disease, periodontal disease is caused by lingering plaque and tartar along your gumline that causes your gum tissue, and eventually the surrounding bone, to become infected. Advanced gum disease causes receding gums and tooth loss.
Injuries to your mouth from falls, sports, or violence can lead to unexpected tooth loss. With quick action by an emergency dentist, a tooth that’s been knocked out can be restored, but undue delay in treatment may cause you to lose your tooth and need an artificial tooth restoration.
Bruxism, also called teeth grinding, is when a person clenches or grinds their teeth. This can happen consciously, or unconsciously while sleeping. Teeth grinding wears down the enamel of your teeth, weakening them and leaving them at a higher risk for breakage, decay, loosening, and eventual loss.
Preventing adult tooth loss is far easier than replacing missing teeth, and routine oral hygiene is the essential foundation for protecting your teeth. Adults and children alike should brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes to remove food particles and bacteria. Flossing at least once each day is also necessary to remove debris from between your teeth.
In addition to routine oral care at home, visit Healthy Smile Dental at least twice each year for professional dental exams and cleanings. This allows us to check for any early signs of gum disease or damage and clean away plaque and tartar that causes periodontal disease.
If we detect gum disease, Dr. Baek may prescribe medication or recommend more thorough and frequent professional cleanings to eliminate bacteria and debris.
Try to avoid hard foods that can damage your teeth and avoid habits that can fracture your teeth, like chewing your fingernails, eating ice, or opening items with your teeth. Wear a mouthguard when participating in contact sports or if you have been diagnosed with bruxism.
Is it time for a professional dental cleaning and exam? Contact Healthy Smile Dental today to book a consultation and exam with Dr. Hannah Baek. Let us help you protect your adult teeth for your lifetime.