Keeping Your Teeth For The Ages
Time takes it toll on all things and sometimes our teeth get especially ravaged as we get older. Keeping teeth healthy and strong depends on many factors some we can control and some that we can’t. It is very important to maintain the teeth and keep them as healthy and disease free as possible. When the uncontrollable factors start to influence the mouth, the care that we put into the teeth may be the thing that determines if the teeth will survive or be destroyed one by one.
What are these uncontrollable factors that threaten the health of our teeth?
The biggest factor in determining the soundness of teeth in my opinion is healthy saliva. Many medications and diseases can cause the mouth to become dry, or can cause the saliva to become thick. Saliva is very important for controlling bacteria, it is also instrumental in neutralizing sugars, controlling the acid levels in the mouth, and it helps wash away foods and debris. If the quality or quantity of saliva is affected in a negative way often times it is impossible to keep decay from destroying the teeth. When saliva is known to be affected it is vital to supplement the saliva with over the counter saliva substitutes which can help restore positive decay preventing aspects of saliva.
Another uncontrollable factor is loss of muscle function in the mouth.
A healthy person swallows and moves their tongue and mouth muscles thousands of times a day. This keeps the saliva reconstituted and helps wash the mouth of food and debris. Some medical conditions such as strokes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s limits a persons ability to move their mouths and food and saliva lay stagnant on the teeth for hours causing demineralization and decay. Other factors are disease processes that can change the acidity of the mouth, one such disease is diabetes, and other diseases such as sjogrens syndrome affect the flow of saliva. So home care and dental care are very important to prevent decay and maintain strong and healthy teeth so that if unfortunate events occur that limit our ability or our body’s ability to provide a healthy environment for the teeth we can be assured that the teeth are going to be strong as possible to withstand damaging effects.
Tips To Maintain Healthy Teeth
1. Avoid constant snacking. Even foods that are low in sugar can cause decay if it accumulates around the teeth.
2. Avoid constant sipping of soda or beverages containing sugar. It takes saliva 15 minutes to wash away sugar in the mouth, constant sipping maintains a high continuous level of sugar in the mouth. Remember that carbonated beverages are highly acidic and will literally dissolve tooth structure
3. Brush after every meal. Brushing after every meal will eliminate food debris
around the teeth and will stimulate the gums. Food debris causes decay and inflames the gums which causes acidity which promotes decay.
4. Brush at night. During the night the saliva flow lessens and the mouth dries out, this creates an environment that allows decay to occur. By brushing and removing food debris you can eliminate a food source of decay causing bacteria.
5. Maintain saliva flow. If your mouth is constantly dry stimulate saliva flow with sugar free citrus candies or supplement with over the counter saliva substitutes.
6. Use fluoride rinses after brushing to strengthen tooth structure.
7. Remove any partials or dentures and brush them thoroughly when you brush your teeth. This is especially important at night. This will also help keep your mouth clean and breath fresh.
8. Brush your tongue on a daily basis. This will also help maintain a clean mouth and fresh breath.
9. Floss daily. There are many effective flossing aids that eliminate the drudgery of trying to wrap the floss around the fingers and get it to go between the teeth. Daily flossing removes food debris from between the teeth and helps prevent gum disease.
10. See your dentist and hygienist on a six month basis. All decay starts small, and is easily and inexpensively repaired. Avoidance of the dentist lets this small decay turn into big cavities and that’s when the dentist starts using words like ‘extraction’ and ‘root canal’. Having the teeth cleaned on a regular basis keeps the gum and teeth healthy and disease free.
Dr. Funk is a Royersford dentist that services the neighboring communities such as: Royersford, Limerick, Trappe, Linfield, Spring City, Collegeville, Parker Ford, Kimberton and Gilbertsville and Pottstown. Also, with the 422 bypass minutes away, we are easily accessible for patients living in King of Prussia, Pottstown, Norristown, Valley Forge, Oaks, Phoenixville, Audubon and Philadelphia. Our office has the technology and the talent to provide any type of dental service a person might want or need: Veneers, Crowns, Teeth Whitening, Root Canals, Dentures, Cosmetic Bonding, Sleep Apnea, TMJ and Headache therapy, Implant Restorations, We want to make sure that the money you invest in your teeth and smile is a long term investment.
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