It’s easy to take your teeth for granted — they are, after all, the strongest substance in the human body, thanks to their enamel covering. And, while you don’t need your pearly whites to outlast the Cenozoic Era, you do want them to stay strong and beautiful during your lifetime. Consider this: Your teeth are key to some of the most enjoyable things in life, like talking, smiling and enjoying great food.
The good news is, it takes little more than a healthy diet and good oral hygiene habits to safeguard your smile well into your golden years. Still, the lure of your pillow when you’re too tired to brush, or long-overdue appointments with your dentist, can take a toll on your teeth, not to mention the rest of your body. According to the CDC, more than 20 percent of Americans 65 or older have lost all of their teeth due to tooth decay or gum disease. Keeping your mouth in tip-top condition will not only help prevent bad breath and the need for dentures, it may also protect against heart disease.
Brushing twice a day, flossing daily and visiting your dentist twice a year are the most important things you can do to ward off disease-causing bacteria and inflammation. That’s why, even if you bristle at the thought of going to the dentist, it’s a good idea to grin and bear it anyway. Here’s a bonus: Smiling when you don’t feel like it can make you feel better. It doesn’t just bolster your spirits; it makes others feel good about you too. Now why wouldn’t you want to protect one of your most precious assets?
WOW Fact: It only takes about 20 minutes for bacteria to break food down into sugar and form an enamel-eroding acid. The worst culprits: simple sugars in the form of soda, candy and baked goods. To protect against decay, swish your mouth with water after eating so food particles don’t sit on your teeth all day.