How to Keep Your Teeth for a Lifetime


Girl brushing teeth

Everyone grows older. Your teeth do too, but that doesn't mean they can't last as long as you do. The right dental attitude makes a difference. Some would call it dental aptitude, and that would be more to the point.

Do intelligent people have a better chance of keeping their teeth for life? You don't have to be a bona fide genius, but the answer is yes for anyone who knows that holding on to your teeth for life means:

  • Intelligent brushing. This is one of the most important parts of your daily dental routine, and it's one that needs to take place twice a day at the very least. For the best results, however, try to brush after every meal if possible, using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush that fits comfortably inside your mouth. To do this the smart way, hold your brush at a 45 degree angle and use short strokes. Pay special attention to the gumline, and keep the action going for two minutes at least.
  • Intelligent flossing. The American Dental Association considers daily flossing to be an essential tool for anyone interested in hanging on to natural teeth life. However, if you have a problem with flossing, interdental brushes will also do a credible job of removing plaque from in between the teeth.
  • Intelligent life choices. The decisions you make on a daily basis are bound to affect your well-being, but there's even more to it than that. The truth is that anything that harms your body is going to harm your teeth as well. If you smoke, chew tobacco, drink to excess or indulge in drugs, your chances of keeping your teeth for life are certainly slim to none.

On the other hand, there are some positive things you can do. These include:

  • Eating apples. The rough and crunchy texture of this particular fruit has a talent for scrubbing away plaque and lessening stains. There is just one caveat: Apples are sweet and mildly acidic, so a good after-brushing is always recommended.
  • Drinking milk. Everyone knows that calcium is vital for healthy bones. Your teeth need it just as much, and milk is one of the easiest ways of getting it. Nevertheless, if you don't like milk or cannot physically tolerate it, cheese, tofu, yogurt and even broccoli can serve as excellent alternative sources.
  • Throwing out an old, worn toothbrush. Nothing lasts forever, and every time you brush your teeth, the bristles on your toothbrush wear down a little more. The more they degrade, the less effective they become at removing plaque from your teeth and gums. Most dental professionals recommend replacing your toothbrush at least four times a year, although if you should catch a cold, have the flu or suffer from a mouth infection, the purchase of a new one when you start feeling well will guard against re-infection.
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste on a regular basis. Fluoride coats your teeth with a protective layer that not only puts the brakes on plaque buildup but also shields against sugar's damaging effects.
  • Just saying no to tobacco products. All forms of tobacco can damage your mouth, and this is true regardless of whether you smoke it or chew it. Tobacco does more than just stain your teeth. It also weakens their structure while leaving the gums vulnerable to disease and tissue damage. Studies have also implicated tobacco in as many as eight out of every 10 cases of oral cancer.

Most importantly of all, intelligent stewardship of your teeth will always call for regular visits to a dental professional. Regardless of how well you care for your teeth each day, only professional cleanings can remove the stains and plaque buildup that would otherwise send your teeth down the slippery slope toward an early grave. Regular dental visits with Dr. James White will also catch problems in the initial stages before things get so out of hand that your teeth no longer stand a chance.

Do you think you rate an A for dental aptitude? Take a cue from our list of guidelines above. Just these few intelligent moves could provide the help you need to hold on to your natural teeth for life.