Many of my patients desire to keep their teeth for their entire lifetime. I often tell them that there are three primary things that will determine whether or not they can keep them throughout their entire lives. Those three things are Diet, Hygiene and Habits. Simple enough right?
A diet consisting of highly refined sugars is the primary reason why decay is more prevalent now than a century ago.
Extended exposure to these refined sugars cause a significant amount of decay in teeth. There are several ways this occurs.
First, if we it eat sticky foods, they will adhere to the surfaces of the teeth for extended periods. This in turn will allow the bacteria to process the sugars and convert them to acids. The acid is what demineralizes the teeth and causes cavities to develop.
Secondly, if we eat foods that stay in the mouth for extended periods such as hard candy, suckers and chewing gum, the result is the same.
A third way this occurs is by drinking sugary drinks over extended periods of time. It would be much better for someone to drink a large soda in a short period of time rather than to drink a small soda over an extended period such as during an entire movie.
Basically, we should be brushing a minimum of twice a day and preferably more. We should brush upon awakening and prior to sleeping. We should also brush after each meal.
Don't forget to floss. You need to floss daily. If you fail to floss, you will not remove the debris that forms in between the teeth. You will therefore develop cavities in between the teeth.
Avoid parafunctional (things that aren't normal) habits such as chewing on ice, chewing on your fingernails, using your teeth to open bottles or cutting fishing line or tearing beef jerky. These are just some examples.
Another habit that will undermine your ability to keep your teeth for life is smoking. Smokers tend to have more bone loss around their teeth. So, even if the teeth themselves are healthy, if there is no supporting bone around them, you will still lose your teeth.
Clenching and grinding are also very detrimental habits. Consider your car. Typically, you may be able to get a few hundred thousand. However, if you abuse it and and race it, you'll be lucky to get twenty thousand miles out of it.
The bottom line is, use your teeth only to eat normal foods.
In conclusion, a good diet, good hygiene and good habits will help keep your teeth.
Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit www.advanced-smiles.com.