According to the Center For Disease Control, about a quarter of Americans over the age of 65 have lost all of their natural teeth. More than half of older Americans are missing at least ten teeth and only a small percentage still have all of their natural teeth. Many Americans mistakenly believe that tooth loss is a natural function of the aging process, but in reality, most tooth loss is due to the effects of poor oral health habits. These effects add up over time which creates the perception that tooth loss is natural in older Americans similar to a decline in vision.
Tooth loss is actually caused by gum disease and tooth decay, both of which are caused by plaque build-up. Plaque is a sticky film made of naturally occurring bacteria that forms on the surface of your teeth. The bacteria in plaque attack the surface of the teeth causing tooth decay and can also irritate and inflame the gums. This irritation of the gums is called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to gum disease and infection can take hold in gums and tissues that support the teeth. Eventually, the teeth become loose must be removed.
Good oral health habits can help reduce plaque formation and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Daily flossing and twice-daily brushing combined with regular dental cleanings and checkups are an excellent to reduce plaque and prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
It is never too late to begin a good oral health program. Schedule a dental cleaning and check up with your dentist today. He or she will help you get started on an oral health program that can help prevent tooth loss.
Though studies have found mixed results when comparing electric toothbrushes with manual toothbrushes, most dentists recommend them for keeping teeth clean and removing plaque. If your dentist has recommended that you use an electric toothbrush or you are just sold on the benefits of an electric toothbrush, you should know that the most effective electric toothbrushes are the rechargeable toothbrushes that plug into the wall.
There are also some battery powered toothbrushes on the market that are little more than manual toothbrushes with bristles that vibrate a little. Don’t confuse these battery powered toothbrushes with a true electric toothbrush.
Electric toothbrushes are beneficial for your oral health for a number of reasons. For one, most electric toothbrush users report cleaner teeth from using an electric toothbrush. For another, electric toothbrushes can stop you from brushing your teeth too hard and damaging your teeth and gums.
Overly aggressive tooth brushing can result in receding gums or a loss to tooth enamel. With an electric toothbrush, the brush does all the work and all you do is hold the toothbrush in the right area. Since the user does not apply any pressure, brushing too hard becomes a thing of the past. Some electric toothbrushes even have sensors to prevent brushing too hard.
An electric toothbrush has a timer that makes sure that you are brushing long enough. A thorough tooth brushing should take at least two minutes, but most Americans brush their teeth for less than half that much time. An electric toothbrush will let you know when you have brushed long enough. Some even signal when it is time to move the toothbrush to another area of your mouth. When used in conjunction with regular dental cleanings and checkups, an electric toothbrush can play a valuable role in maintaining your oral health.
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