Taking good care of your teeth and gums is the best way to protect your mouth against tooth loss. This includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once, and regularly visiting your dental professional.
However, don’t stop there. Here are a few more tips you can employ to help you lower your risk of tooth loss.
Prevent Tooth Enamel Erosion
Even though tooth enamel is strong, it isn’t completely resistant to damage. Specifically, you can harm your tooth enamel through daily actions such as:
- Eating too many sweet and acidic foods
- Brushing your teeth and gums too hard
- Grinding your teeth
- Acid reflux or bulimia
- Dry mouth
You can help protect your teeth from loss by drinking plenty of water, eating healthy, tooth-friendly meals, finishing your meal with a glass of milk or piece of hard cheese, and using a soft toothbrush.
Choose to Use a Mouth Guard
A mouth guard covers your teeth and protects against tooth grinding as you sleep or injury as you play sports. Choosing the correct one depends on your needs and the recommendation of your dental professional.
First, there is the over-the-counter type of mouth guard. Most sporting-goods and drug stores sell ready-to-wear mouth protectors that come in standard sizes or that you can heat and shape to your specific dental bite. While relatively inexpensive (as little as $15), they generally don’t provide the best protection and often aren’t recommended by dental professionals.
Your dental professional makes the other type of mouth guard to fit your specific needs. Either vacuum-formed or pressure-laminated, these mouth guards are thicker, stronger, and designed for your mouth. After your dentist takes an impression of your teeth, a dental lab molds. There is more time involved; therefore, it’s more expensive.
Regardless of what type of mouth guard you wear, be sure to care for it properly. Clean it with soap and water, and store it in a container that allows air circulation.
Know the Importance of Saliva
Saliva is a vital part of good oral hygiene. It lubricates your mouth and protects your teeth and gums by washing away food particles, breaking down bacteria, neutralizing acids, and protecting tooth enamel.
However, many things hinder our ability to manufacture sufficient saliva including certain medications, illnesses, insufficient water intake, chemo and radiation therapy, and aging.
To keep your saliva flow strong, consider chewing sugarless gum, drink plenty of liquids (especially water) on a daily basis, suck on sugar-free hard candy, or use an artificial saliva product.
Whether you’re concerned about dental erosion, need a mouth guard, or have problems with your saliva production, always talk to your dental professional about your questions and concerns.