Research suggests that the smile is the first thing we notice when we meet another person. Bearing this in mind, it’s no wonder that many of us are concerned about the appearance of our pearly whites. The teeth are made to last, but they’re also susceptible to damage and disease. If you’re eager to keep hold of your teeth for as long as possible, this guide will help. It will also provide information about the implications of tooth loss, and the incredible solutions on offer today.
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The implications of losing natural teeth
It’s never too early to start tending to your teeth and gums. The more diligent you are with your oral hygiene regime, the lower the risk of losing teeth prematurely. If you look after your teeth well, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t last a lifetime. If you lose teeth early, this can have far-reaching consequences.
Many of us take an interest in our appearance. We make an effort to do our hair, choose stylish outfits, and keep in shape. When you lose a tooth, this can have a significant impact on the way you look, as well as your self-esteem. Your teeth are on show when you speak and smile. If you’re not happy with the way your smile looks, you may be inclined to hide it away. You might also feel uncomfortable when you meet new people, or in certain scenarios when you’re in the spotlight. Interviews, presentations, and public speaking may all become daunting prospects. The way you look also affects the way others perceive you. A survey by Wrigley’s suggested that an attractive smile makes you come across as approachable and friendly. More than 75 percent of people said that a photo of a woman smiling was more appealing than a second image showing a woman wearing makeup but not smiling.
Tooth loss can also impact your facial aesthetic. Your teeth are predominantly used for breaking down food before digestion. But they also play a supportive role for your cheeks and lips. When you lose teeth, your cheeks may start to sag, and you may look older.
Losing natural teeth doesn’t just affect your appearance and confidence levels. It can also be damaging to your oral health. When you have gaps in your smile, this can increase the risk of dental conditions, like decay. It’s also possible for the neighboring teeth to start to slip out of position, which can affect your bite. The bite refers to the relationship between the top and bottom arches of teeth. If your bite is abnormal, you may require orthodontic treatment.
One of the most worrying consequences of gaps in the smile is bone loss. When the teeth fall out, the bone tissue beneath may start to shrink. This is because it is no longer stimulated. In extreme cases, bone loss can increase the risk of injuries like fractures to the jaw. It can also affect your viability for implant treatment.
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Preventative tips: how to reduce your risk of dental disease
Most dentists will tell you that prevention is better than cure. Many cases of tooth loss could be prevented by following these simple steps.
Good oral hygiene is the most effective weapon you can use to combat decay and gum disease. The good news is that spending just a few minutes each day cleaning your teeth can make a world of difference. When you brush, you remove food debris and bacteria. This helps to prevent the formation of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance, which clings to your tooth enamel. It is the main risk factor for gum disease and cavities. When you brush, take care to clean every tooth. Angle your brush head to cover every surface and clean the gum line. Don’t brush too hard, as this can wear away the enamel. Make sure you brush for long enough. Dentists recommend two sessions of at least two minutes of cleaning per day. If you’re not brushing for long enough, set a timer on your phone. You can also buy brushes with inbuilt timers. Another idea is to brush along to a song. In addition to brushing, you should also make time for flossing. Flossing targets the areas that are missed when you use a toothbrush. Use individual pieces of floss and guide them through the gaps between your teeth. Don’t tug or pull. This can hurt your gums. Ideally, you should floss daily.
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Protecting your teeth
Dental trauma is a common cause of tooth loss. Of course, it’s not always possible to prevent accidents. But sometimes, taking simple steps could save your teeth. Always wear a seatbelt when traveling by car or bus. Dentists also recommend using a mouth guard for playing sport. Any sports that involve hard objects or physical contact may be harmful to your teeth. You can pick up gum shields from sports shops. But it’s often best to pay more for a dentist-made guard. These products are custom-made to fit your mouth perfectly, and they are usually better quality. If you play sports like rugby, hockey or lacrosse, or you do martial arts or fighting sports, it’s worth investing.
Watching what you eat and drink
Many of us think about our waistlines when planning a weekly menu. But you should also spare a thought for your teeth. Your diet has inextricable links with your oral health. Some foods have amazing benefits for your teeth, but there are some you should try to avoid. Sugar is a major problem. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth start to feed. As a result, they release acids, which attack your tooth enamel. The enamel is incredibly hard. But it is susceptible to acid erosion. Eventually, the surface of the tooth will become worn and holes will form. Once cavities are present, bacteria can penetrate the tooth. The World Health Organization recommends a maximum daily sugar intake of around six teaspoons per day. To put this into perspective, the average can of cola contains almost ten teaspoons.
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Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease. Gum disease is the most common cause of adult tooth loss in the developed world. Smoking reduces oxygen flow to the gums, and it also contributes to decay. If you smoke, giving up will help to reduce the risk of losing your natural teeth. It will also lower your risk of oral cancer, and prevent staining. Quitting isn’t easy, but your dentist and doctor are there to help.
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I have missing teeth: what are my options?
Dentistry is one of the fastest evolving areas of medicine. Losing teeth can be distressing, but there are solutions out there. One option is dental implants. Implants are artificial tooth roots, which are made from high-grade titanium. Titanium has been selected because it is biocompatible. This means that it can integrate into the bone tissue. When an implant is fitted, a socket is drilled into the jaw bone. The implant is placed by expert dentists like those at Gordon Dental and then left to heal. Once it has integrated fully, a new crown is attached. The implant acts like a healthy, strong root, and the prosthetic looks exactly like a natural tooth. Implant treatment is an increasingly popular option for patients with missing teeth. One of the major draws is the versatility of treatment. This treatment is suited to patients of all ages. Implants are also compatible with dentures and bridges. This means that they can be used as a substitute for any number of natural teeth. Another benefit is that implants last for several years.
Other options include dentures and dental bridges. Dentures are sets of prosthetic teeth, which are custom-made for the individual. They slot into place and are held firm by the suction of the gums. You can get full dentures or partial dentures for a few missing teeth. Dentures have a bad reputation. Many people still think of them as bulky and artificial-looking. But modern dentures are completely different to those of old. They are sleek, comfortable, and very lifelike. They are cheaper than implants and therefore accessible to more people. Dental bridges are an effective solution for single missing teeth. If you lose a tooth, a bridge can be fitted in just two appointments. The aim of the bridge is to fill the gap using a false tooth supported by two crowns. The tooth is colored to match your natural teeth, so you won’t be able to tell the difference. Bridges are more affordable than implants, and they should last for around ten years.
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Many of us take our teeth for granted. We assume that they’ll be with us forever. But what happens when that’s not the case. Losing teeth has all kinds of implications for our physical and mental health. It’s always best to try and prevent dental disasters, but there’s no need to panic if you do lose a tooth. Today, we have access to fantastic treatments. Dental implants, dentures, and dental bridges can all be used to restore your smile and give you your confidence back.