Prevent Your Age from Showing in Your Smile, Part 1

Your teeth do a lot for you. They bite and chew your food, assist with your digestion, and give you a mega-watt smile. Because they do so much and endure extreme temperatures and pressures everyday, your teeth are subject to a lot of wear and tear.

The aging process also affects your teeth. Follow these tips to prevent your age from showing in your smile.

Preventing Acid Erosion

The biggest threats to your teeth are sugar and starch-loaded foods. These carbohydrates ferment and cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids, which rapidly eat away at your tooth enamel. As a result, your teeth become much more susceptible to tooth decay.

What You Can Do:

  • Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks.
  • Avoid frequent snacking, which causes acid levels in the mouth to remain high over an extended amount of time.
  • Chew sugarless gum to satisfy a craving for something sweet. Chewing increases saliva production, which helps cleanse the mouth and neutralize acidity.
  • Have regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months.

Preventing Mechanical Wear and Tear on Your Teeth

While teeth do not become more brittle with age, continuous use of a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth can cause serious damage. Teeth that have fillings or have had root canals are particularly vulnerable because they are missing components of natural tooth structure.

Grinding and clenching your teeth, also called bruxism, is a negative habit caused by stress or anxiety. Bruxism can wear down the biting surfaces of your teeth over time, making your teeth more likely to chip and break.

What You Can Do:

  • Avoid chewing on ice, very hard foods, or other objects (like pen caps, biting your nails, etc.).
  • Don’t use your teeth to open bottle caps, wrappers, etc.
  • Check to make sure that pitted foods have no pits before you bite down on them.
  • Come in for appointments regularly. Your dentist can easily spot cracked or broken fillings that may weaken your teeth. Your dentist will also check for signs of bruxism and suggest treatment methods.

Dr. Randy LaFrom is a cosmetic and restorative dentist in Cupertino, California. As a health care provider, he is very interested in the connection between your oral and overall health. Call LaFrom Dentistry at (408) 996-8595 for more information about oral care and hygiene or to schedule an appointment.

~ by cupertinodentist on June 13, 2011.

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