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- Visit your dentist regularly - don't let visits slide! Adult life can sometimes be a juggling act and it may feel like you just can't find the time for a dental visit. But making time for regular dental visits now can help keep you out of the dental office in the future.
- Brush and floss daily, even if you're tired. You've heard this a million times by now, but the importance of regular brushing and flossing can never be emphasized enough. Even if you've been good about your oral hygiene all your life, resist the temptation to let it slide for even one day; the longer plaque stays on your teeth the more harmful it becomes.
- Limit fast food; eat well-balanced meals. When you're juggling work, home and kids, it can be easy to turn to fast food, soda and sugary snacks as a way to save time and feel more energetic. But sugar is a tooth decay demon and can cause you to crash after that initial "sugar high." Be sure to integrate plenty of fresh vegetables into your daily meals and eat fruit, nuts and celery or carrot sticks as snacks.
- Exercise regularly; it's good for your teeth! Studies show that people who maintain a healthy lifestyle -- exercise and eating right -- are 40 percent less likely to develop periodontitis (advanced gum disease).
- Consider treating yourself to cosmetic dentistry. Whether you want a quick boost or a complete smile makeover, there are plenty of cosmetic dental treatments available to help you achieve your dream smile. One-hour laser teeth whitening treatments can make your teeth 8-10 shades whiter, and porcelain veneers can mask stained teeth, chipped teeth or crooked teeth.
Keep an eye on:
- Excessive Drinking - It's common for adults to wind down their day with a glass of wine or a stiff cocktail. However, if you drink excessively you could be susceptible not only to alcoholism but also dental conditions such as oral cancer. Talk to your dentist if you think you could be at risk.
- Smoking Risks - In addition to lung cancer and birth defects, studies have shown that smoking cigarettes can also increase your chances of oral cancer and gum disease as well as tooth loss. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits are even more crucial if you smoke, so be vigilant!
- Hormonal Changes - The hormonal changes caused by pregnancy can affect your teeth and gums. Some pregnant women develop gum tumors, but about 50 percent of pregnant women experience pregnancy gingivitis, which can turn into periodontal disease if left untreated. But remember, dental disease isn't inevitable. Practicing good oral hygiene habits can help reduce your risk and so can visiting the dentist every six months!
- Diabetes Complications - Adults 45 and older are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you're in this age group, the last thing you want to do is be lax about your health -- including your oral hygiene routine. Regular brushing and flossing are essential because the poor blood sucrose control associated with diabetes can make your gums more vulnerable to gum disease.