Have you never lost a tooth? Good for you because many people have lost at least one tooth: 178 million American adults have lost at least one. What’s more, 3.75 percent have none of their original adult teeth at all!
So if you want to be one of those who does keep all of her adult teeth (not including molar extractions as a young adult), read below for some tips on how you can keep all of your teeth for all of your life.
- In addition to brushing/flossing regularly, eat crunchy fruits and vegetables after meals.
Eating an apple or carrot at the end of a meal or as a snack can act as a bit of a short tooth-brushing session. The fruit’s/vegetable’s hard flesh and skin can act as a cleanser.
- Eat more salmon.
Or at the least work on getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Harvard Medical School a few years ago researched federal data which tracked 9,000 people for five years and found that those who took a fish oil supplement and/or ate more fish rich in omega-3 had a 30 percent less chance of having gum disease. (Gum disease can lead to tooth loss.)
- Get more Vitamins D and C in your diet.
The Vitamin C can help keep your gums free of gum disease. Aim for at least 180 milligrams of the vitamin a day. A glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice should provide 80 milligrams. You also can find Vitamin C in guava, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, and green and red sweet peppers.
As for Vitamin D, studies are starting to show that people who have low levels of this nutrient are more likely to lose teeth because research is finding that the vitamin can reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. (Bacteria can form plaque, which can create cavities as well as gum disease, which – if untreated – could lead to tooth loss.)
What’s more, Vitamin D has been proven to be crucial to your body’s ability to absorb calcium and calcium is essential for providing you with strong teeth and bones.
A State University of New York-Buffalo study found that individuals who ingested 800 milligrams of calcium a day were less likely to develop serious gum disease. (The federal recommendation for calcium is 600 international units [IU] per day for adults up to age 70 and 800 IUs per day for adults older than 70.)
- Exercise regularly.
Individuals who work out regularly have been found to come down with periodontal disease than people who are more sedentary.
It’s believed exercise helps because anything you do to keep yourself healthy helps keep your teeth and gums in good shape because people who are in poor health tend to have more tooth loss. In other words, your general health and oral health are entirely related!
Image courtesy Wenceslaus Hollar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.