It's true that modern dental wizardry can provide state-of-the-art crowns, dentures and even dental implants to help you cope with deteriorated or missing teeth -- but your dentist would rather see you hang onto the teeth Nature gave you. Checkups, cleanings and good dental hygiene can help you achieve that goal, but why stop there? Here are four clever things you can do to keep your mouth populated with healthy (and real) teeth.
1. Take Coenzyme Q10
Lost teeth are often the tragic end result of periodontal disease, a condition in which bacterial infiltration destroys gum tissue faster than the tissue can regenerate itself. This causes the "pockets" around the teeth to become deeper and wider until there's nothing holding the teeth in place any longer. But while poor dental hygiene is an obvious prime factor in this process, research has also shown that sufferers from periodontal disease also tend to have relatively low levels of a substance called Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10) in their bodies. CoQ10 is a critical nutrient for its ability to help cells find the energy to perform their essential functions -- including tissue repair and regeneration.
Getting more CoQ10 can be a smart way to ensure that your gums have the energy to fight back against the onslaught of disease threats. It can be found in many meats such as beef, herring and chicken, as well as vegetable sources such as soybean oil, broccoli and cauliflower. You can also purchase CoQ10 supplements. However you choose to take it, you'll be taking a positive step toward keeping your teeth.
2. Control That Case of "Cotton Mouth"
A chronically dry mouth doesn't just feel uncomfortable -- it can also imperil your teeth. That's because saliva plays an important role in the mouth, not just for the digestion of food but also to provide a layer of protection against bacteria for the teeth and gums. People with constantly dry mouths run the risk of having infections strike at the gum line and roots of their teeth, promoting tooth loss.
If you've experienced trouble with mouth dryness, check to see whether any of the medications you're currently taking are known to have this effect -- and if possible, ask your doctor for an alternative. (Tobacco is another possible culprit.) You may also want to get yourself checked for underlying health conditions such as autoimmune diseases, salivary gland problems, or even sleep apnea-related snoring that might be making your mouth dry.
3. Remineralize With Xylitol
Teeth that lose their strong outer coat of enamel can become prone to cracking, breaking or even crumbling. This makes remineralization of enamel an important strategy for maintaining an intact set of teeth. You may already be using fluoridated products for this purpose -- but did you know that you can enhance that effect by indulging in a non-sugar sweetener called xylitol?
Xylitol, a substance derived from either corn or birch, is available in a variety of forms, from mints and gums to granulated products for cooking. You can even find toothpastes that list xylitol as an ingredient. This sweetener can help remineralize tooth enamel and make your mouth a less acidic environment. It may also discourage the formation of dental plaque, giving bacteria less to feed on while reducing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
4. Lose a Tooth? Put It Back
A traumatic car accident, sports injury or other mishap can cause a tooth to be knocked right out of its socket. But don't despair if this happens to you, because as long as the tooth is intact, you may actually be able to stick it right back into your head. In fact, the best way to replant a knocked-out tooth is to insert it firmly back into its socket and hold it there all the way to your dentist, who can then reposition the tooth and fix it in place with a splint so it will reattach to the socket.
If you can't get the tooth back in yourself, place it in cold milk and get to your dentist as quickly as possible. Any delay of more than a few minutes could make all the difference in whether the tooth reattaches successfully in the long term. Your dentist may also have you return to the office within the next couple of weeks for a root canal to clean out any inner pulp that may have died during the separation from the socket.
Keep these tricks in mind if you want to enjoy your original set of teeth for many years to come. From making your mouth a more tooth-friendly place to acting quickly and intelligently when a tooth goes missing, you've got more control over your smile than you might think!
For more information, contact a dental office like Suncoast Dental Center.