How many teeth should I expect to lose as I get older?
If you follow some relatively simple guidelines, you should expect to not lose any. It used to be that people would expect to lose teeth, but with constantly improving dental care techniques, that's really no longer true. Here are some fundamental tips to keep in mind:
Stay away from sugar. The average American consumes almost 100 pounds of sugar a year. Plaque, the clear, sticky substance that accumulates on your teeth every day and can cause cavities and gum disease, loves sugar.
Stop smoking. Smoking is one of the leading risk factors in the development of gum disease. Smokeless tobacco is bad, too. Its use significantly increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Speaking of plaque – be sure to remove it every day. Try to brush your teeth after every meal. The longer food residue stays in your mouth, the more contact it has with teeth.
Brush with an American Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste. And floss every day. Remember to rinse after flossing to wash away dislodged food particles. Follow these guidelines and you should keep a healthy smile all your life.