Thirteen facts things about tooth loss. This is very top of mind for me these days.
1. Statistically speaking, the average 65-year-old will have already lost multiple teeth.
2. More than 36 million Americans don't have any teeth at all, though 90% of these people have dentures.
3. The primary cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease. This is a bacterial infection that destroys first the gum and then the bone. (This is me. I'm so typical!)
4. I didn't start flossing until my 30s. I wish I could get those decades back. Flossing can help prevent periodontal disease. (In my case, I ended up getting multiple crowns when I was in my 30s and guess what: they're all wearing out.)
5. Genetics also play a role. If your parents suffered from receding gums (I'm raising my hand), you're likely to, as well.
7. Tobacco use can add to the plaque build up, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease and tooth loss.
8. So does grinding your teeth. You're putting extra pressure on your gum line, which leads to gum recession and -- you guess it! -- tooth loss.
9. To help you avoid all the expense and discomfort of dealing with tooth loss, try to have your teeth cleaned by the dentist twice a year. This is the best way to make sure all the plaque is removed.
10. Stop thinking of mouthwash as something to keep your breath fresh. Instead, thinking of it as a tool in your tooth-saving arsenal and switch to an anti-bacterial rinse.
11. Eat more tooth-healthy foods. What makes a food "tooth healthy?" If it stimulates saliva, it will help wash away bits of food and bacteria that get trapped in your teeth. Fresh fruits and vegetables are often considered "tooth healthy."
12. Drink tap water. Your municipality likely puts fluoride in the water, and that can help fight decay.
13. Brush after every meal. Carry a toothbrush with you if you're eating away from home. (Yeah, I never did this, either. But then, I'm looking at more than ten thousand dollars in dental work, so ...)
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