Hi, my name is Dr. Neela Patel. One of the questions that I get asked a lot is, how can I prevent tooth loss as a person? There are a few things that actually the patient or a person can do by themselves, at home, that will help them prevent tooth loss. It's our maintenance that we need to be concerned about.
Those maintenance things that I'm talking about, number one, is brushing. We recommend brushing at least twice a day. In the morning, the first thing you do when you get up we want you to brush your teeth, before you eat breakfast. Secondly, at night, the last thing you do before you go to bed, we recommend brushing with a soft toothbrush for at least two minutes. The electric toothbrushes that are now available, such as Sonicare or Oral-B, are wonderful tools to help you with this. After you eat, any time after you eat, if you can brush, this is a wonderful time to do it. We need to think about removing the debris, the food debris, off the teeth.
The second most important thing you can do to help yourself from having tooth loss is floss. We've got to take care of those teeth, and just like brushing, takes care of the outsides and the insides of the teeth. The floss is actually getting down between the tooth and the gum, and keeping that gum pocket clean as well as removing food debris from in between the teeth. Flossing is also recommended for at least twice a day, in the morning and at night. An unwaxed floss is better at removing the debris than washed floss. Think about wax paper, not very good at picking up a spill. That unwaxed paper, regular paper, very good at picking up a spill on the table.
The third thing that I would recommend to anyone who is trying to prevent further tooth loss is diet. Diet is so important and plays such an important role in preventing tooth loss. We have to think about not just the sugar in our diet but also the acid. The acid in the diet is detrimental to the enamel on teeth, and also to the root surfaces that are exposed. Acid, any time you can neutralize the acid by having cheese or drinking water immediately after you have a soda, then that is what is truly recommended. Also, staying away from hard crunchy things, biting the nails, anything that is hard like that. Hard carrots even sometimes can cause a tooth to fracture, if there's already fractures inside the tooth.
I guess, most importantly, overall, is seeing a dentist, also, for regular checkups to make sure that there are no micro-fractures in your tooth or the starts of cavities, so that those cavities don't grow and develop in between appointments. This could lead to more costly procedures. Regular home care, diet, and seeing the dentis for regular checkups are the best things that we can do to help you prevent tooth loss.