As we age, daily wear and tear takes its toll on our teeth. But there are many things you can do to keep them nice and in good shape. Follow these rules and you’ll have plenty of reasons to smile every time you blow out the birthday candles on your cake.

Reduce wear and tear

Your teeth are very strong. However, they can wear down. All that chewing, grinding and biting wears down the enamel, that hard, outer layer of your teeth. It also flattens the pieces you use when biting and chewing.

You can’t erase a lifetime of wear and tear without having it restored by a dentist, but you can prevent it from getting worse. Don’t chew hard foods. That can cause cracks in the enamel and even breakage of the teeth.

Teeth can also be worn down by malocclusion, which may require orthodontic work, and by nighttime grinding (bruxism), which may require the use of a bite guard. If you suspect you clench your mouth at night, talk to your dentist.

Keep your gums healthy

If you don’t brush your teeth properly, plaque will deposit on them and can cause sore, swollen and bleeding gums.
See your dentist annually so he or she can check your gums and anticipate periodontal disease.

The signs of gum disease usually include these, so make an appointment if you suffer from any of them:

  1. Bleeding when brushing your teeth
  2. Receding gums
  3. Teeth with mobility
  4. Bad breath

The best way to keep your gums in good condition is to take care of your teeth. Brush twice a day and floss every day just before brushing. See your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. If you smoke, we invite you to quit, your body and your oral health will thank you.

Don’t let your mouth dry out

Saliva helps clean your teeth and protects your mouth from cavities. But as you get older, your mouth becomes drier and your chances of getting cavities increase. The source of dry mouth can also be caused by certain medications. To combat it, drink more water. Hold it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. There are also mouthwashes and toothpastes specifically for xerostomia.

Beware of acid

Carbonated beverages and citrus fruits and juices contain acid and can wear down tooth enamel.

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