If there’s one dental fact everyone knows, it’s that we humans only get two sets of teeth during our lifetimes. First, the “baby teeth” that start to come in during infancy and, second, the adult teeth that arrive after visits from the Tooth Fairy when we’re roughly six or seven years old. However, times are changing and there has been a rash of news articles about a Japanese study that involved growing new teeth in mice with incomplete sets of teeth.
Anodontia is the human version of the mouse problem and it can deprive sufferers of as many as six or more teeth. Once that problem has been addressed by a possible new treatment to regenerate a third tooth, writers speculate human teeth that are lost due to decay or trauma can also be replaced this way. Of course, the treatment must first be proven safe and effective.
For the time being, the teeth you have now remain your last natural set. While dental implants can do an excellent job of replacing your teeth, it’s never ideal to lose teeth. The good news is that there are several paths to protecting the teeth you have now.
- Daily Oral Hygiene. We know this isn’t an exciting new discovery but regular daily hygiene remains the first and best line of an oral defense. That means brushing for two minutes twice daily – consider using your phone’s timer. And, yes, flossing at least once a day is also a must. If you’re one of the majority of people who are not wild about flossing, just remind yourself that there are particles of food in between your teeth and they are not only going to cause tooth decay, they might smell bad! Speaking of smells, using a mouth rinse is not only good for your breath but can help to kill germs associated with decay.
- Regular Dental Cleanings. Even with twice daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing, small areas of dental plaque will remain and harden into calculus, aka tartar. If left alone, tartar can result in tooth decay leading to cavities, gum disease, and much worse if not addressed promptly. Having a skilled oral health professional take care of this twice a year can greatly limit the chances of serious oral health problems.
- Fluoride is a powerful aid to your oral health in your toothpaste, in-office cleanings and polishing, and in the water supply. Whatever you might have heard or read, fluoride has been proven safe and effective in preventing cavities and has been in use since the beginning of the 20th century over 120 years ago. If there were serious problems, we’d know them by now. It is, however, important not to swallow toothpaste or other over-the-counter fluoride treatments. It’s very rare but truly excessive fluoride can be a problem – but no amount of fluoridated water or toothpaste that you don’t swallow often can create these issues.
- Regular Exams. Even if you do everything right, there is a chance of problems such as cavities appearing. If addressed early enough, these are rarely anything to be overly concerned with but, at the same time, the only way to address them is to find them – and that requires yearly exams. Spotting a problem early can mean the difference between a minor procedure like filling a cavity, a somewhat more involved root canal, or having to endure painful abscesses or infections of the teeth and gums not to mention serious gum diseases that can eliminate entire rows of teeth. Getting your teeth examined by a dentist every year will save you time, money, and endless heartaches.
Preserve the Teeth You Have with Preventive Dentistry
While most people at least brush their teeth, many use not having a relationship with a regular dentist as their excuse for not getting the kind of routine care they need for a healthy and attractive smile. Wherever you live, it’s important to find a reputable dentist who can provide you and any family members with regular preventive care.
For those of you who live in the Northern Los Angeles County and Southern Ventura County area, Santa Clarita Valley Dental Care provides comprehensive care for patients of all ages. To learn more, call us at the number on your screen or use the form on our contact page. Whether you’re looking for a good family dentist, a specialist, or an emergency dentist, our caring and skilled team of leading oral healthcare professionals is here for you.