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    Are You at Risk for Tooth Loss?

    How to keep your teeth for a lifetime.

    Keep Your Dentist Appointments

    Dental care to prevent tooth loss is a partnership between you and your dentist. Make those routine appointments and keep them.

    How often you need to go depends on your particular case. Twice a year is typical, but if you have gum disease, you may need to go more often.

    Make sure your dentist is doing a complete periodontal evaluation at least yearly, Clem says. This includes measuring spaces under gums with a periodontal probe and getting a complete set of X-rays to assess bone levels.

    Brush and Floss

    First, wash your hands. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss once a day.

    "You wouldn't have to floss if you could reach all the parts of your mouth with a toothbrush, but you can't -- no more than you can vacuum a whole house without certain attachments for getting into corners," Price says. If you don't know how, ask your hygienist or dentist.

    Other tips to prevent bacterial growth:

    • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
    • Wash your toothbrush once in a while in the dishwasher or place it in a cup of mouthwash.
    • Let your toothbrush dry completely after each brushing.
    • Don't share your toothbrush with anyone.

    Control Clenching and Grinding

    Clenching and grinding can wear down your teeth. Stress control and relaxation techniques can greatly help. Also, if you clench and grind at night, your dentist can make a bite guard to even out the stresses on your teeth.

    Whether it's stress management, a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, or nutritious food, many healthy lifestyle habits can cut your odds of periodontal disease or slow its progression.

    "The better you take care of your body, the broader the health benefits," Clem says.

    How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

    Number of Days Per Week I Floss

    Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


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    Answer:
    Never
    (0)
    Good
    (1-3)
    Better
    (4-6)
    Best
    (7)

    You are currently

    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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