If you knew the first car you purchased was going to be the only car you would drive for the rest of your life, would it change the way you cared for it? Chances are you would pay a lot more attention to regular maintenance like oil changes, possibly change the way you drive and even take greater care with the interior. And so it is with our teeth.
There is a reason that after the baby teeth are replaced with our adult set of pearly whites that they are called permanent teeth. They’re the ones we get for the rest of our lives.
Caring for our God-given chompers is not always easy. Most people don’t realize that tooth decay is the second most common disease, coming in right behind the common cold. Some things are out of our own personal control. For instance, genetics can play a significant role in determining how healthy our teeth will be over the course of our lives. But as the oft cited serenity prayer references, we need to find the strength – and the time – to control the things we can.
In our view, there are some key areas that are in our control and can help ensure that our teeth last a lifetime.
- A tooth friendly diet. It is amazing how eating and drinking habits can have an impact to the health of our teeth and gums. Sugary and acidic drinks eat away at our protective enamel, subjecting our teeth to increased tooth decay. Soft drinks, Energy Drinks, and Sports drinks are the bane of my existence. It’s amazing how many there are in the refrigerated section of every convenience store, just calling your name. The main ingredient, citric acid, causes severe erosion of the smooth enamel of your teeth. Even some flavored waters have citric acid. ALWAYS check the ingredients before consuming.
- Proper Brushing & Flossing Techniques. Some patients ask us “Should I floss before or after brushing?” Our answer: we don’t care as long as you are doing both at least twice a day. Even better if you do this after every meal. And, still better yet if you use an electric toothbrush.
- Home Fluoride Treatments. There are several home fluoride treatments available and using these every couple of weeks can be a tremendous help in fighting decay.
- Regular Cleanings and X-Rays.
- Mouthguards. For you grinders out there (you know who you are), the use of a mouthguard (or night guard) can be a terrific device to prevent wearing the enamel down on our teeth’s surfaces. Also, if you play sports, they provide protection during all recreational and athletic activities where there is contact or potential friction with another person or athletic equipment. Mouthguards are instrumental in protecting your teeth from serious injury.
Regardless of your current habits, you have the power to change and help ensure your teeth truly do last a lifetime. Check out some of our other blogs on related topics here.