The prospect of wearing dentures is dreadful, especially if you’re not even fifty years old yet. The thought that false teeth can fall out randomly — in the middle of speaking, eating, or taking a photo — is just too mortifying; what if it happened while you were in a meeting with important business executives or with a VIP client?
Imagining those scenarios should be enough to make you more conscious of your oral health. But if you still smoke, skip brushing, or forget to take your vitamins, you need a firmer reminder of what you could lose when your teeth start to take the toll on your habits. It’s not just your pearly whites that could wear off. Your confidence, comfort, and quality of life are at stake, too.
You can absolutely maintain a strong set of teeth until old age. Tooth loss isn’t an occurrence that’s impossible to avoid. But you have to care for your oral health now to reduce your chances of losing your teeth early.
That said, here are the habits you should stop now to maintain your perfect smile:
- Increasing Your Risk Factors for Periodontitis
Periodontitis is a serious gum infection and the leading cause of early tooth loss. The bacteria buildup in your mouth can lead to periodontitis, so brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day is important. However, certain factors can still increase your risk for periodontitis, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause
- Illnesses that weaken your immune systems, like HIV or leukemia
- Medications that dry out your mouth
- Poor nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency
Smoking is the biggest risk factor for periodontitis, another reason you should quit it. And if you have habits that may put you at risk for the illnesses above, start making changes in your lifestyle now. Eat healthier, take your vitamins, and visit your dentist regularly to have your teeth checked or cleaned. As for the factors out of your control, such as genetics, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll eventually have the condition. As long as you brush your teeth thoroughly, including the hard-to-reach areas, and live a healthy lifestyle, you can still maintain your strong teeth until your old age.
- Neglecting Your Teeth During Pregnancy
Pregnancy brings many changes to your body. As such, you may think your toothache is a normal part of the journey. But that actually means your hormones alter your periodontium, the part of your mouth that keeps your teeth together. If left untreated, your periodontium may weaken until it causes one or two of your teeth to go loose.
Hormonal changes in pregnancy are normal, but once it starts to cause pain in your teeth, you should visit your dentist immediately. In fact, pregnant women are encouraged to see a dentist regularly because of a possible link between gum disease and premature birth.
- Not Addressing the Plaque on Your Teeth
Plaque, or tartar, is a hard substance that develops in between your teeth. You can remove it while brushing, but only a dentist can take them out when it becomes too stiff. If your gums bleed every time you brush your teeth, that’s a sign that you have plaque buildup.
Left alone, plaque can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth. Over time, this process can also affect the bone and tissue holding your teeth together, leading to loose teeth.
Floss your teeth after brushing so that you’d remove the small food residue stuck in between your teeth. It will prevent them from becoming plaque.
- Engaging in Rough Sports without Protecting Your Teeth
Injury from sports such as hockey, football, boxing, and more, can also knock out your teeth. Accidents and physical fights do the same. In those cases, dental implants can replace your lost tooth. The dentist will insert an implant into your jawbone, and it will act as an anchor for the crown, which is the artificial tooth.
However, not all people are eligible for dental implant surgery. If you have an acute illness, uncontrollable metabolic disease, or soft bones, tissues, or an infection, the dental surgeon will refuse to perform the procedure on you. You have to resolve those issues first to be eligible for the surgery.
In some cases, dental surgeons will also refuse implants to people who smoke heavily, have HIV, AIDS, diabetes, osteoporosis, parafunctional habits, or behavioral or psychiatric disorders. The implants may fail due to those conditions.
Hence, the ultimate key to maintaining strong teeth is really a healthy lifestyle. The lower your risks for various serious diseases, the higher the chances of your pearly whites remaining intact even as you age. Don’t take your teeth for granted; once they start to fall off, it’ll be hard to stop their progress.