Perhaps you saw them from afar on your grandma’s bedside table. Or, maybe you saw them up close and personal on your grandpa’s lap. Maybe you witnessed the spectacle as a party favour at family gatherings, or maybe it was a foreboding caution to take care of your chompers.
These chompers we’re talking about however, are of the artificial variety. Dentures are a prosthetic insert to replace missing teeth. Depending on the number of teeth missing or still intact, the dentures are custom-made to rest on the hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity, and/or anchor to remaining teeth. As changes in your mouth occur periodically, dentures must also be updated regularly to account for these changes and ensure a comfortable fit. Lastly, dentures are also removable – this being the quality that may frighten or entertain the grandchildren.
There is no need to be ashamed or concerned of dentures though. Losing teeth as we age is almost as natural as losing our baby teeth to give way to our adult teeth. Less than 5% of those aged 40-59 have no natural teeth, and that number inherently rises to roughly 22% of the population between the ages of 60 and 79 says StatCan.
That being said, while tooth loss does occur with aging, advancements in dental care and dental hygiene have enabled us to keep a mouth full of (our own) teeth. This prolonging of the ability to retain our teeth can be attributed to the widespread use of fluorides and improved access to dental care in Canada. These benefits have caused edentulous people (people without any of their own natural teeth) to drop by more than half from 17% of the population in 1990, to only 6.4% of the population in 2009.
Just because the functionalities of our bodies may naturally decline in age, does not excuse the pro-activity to maintain proper hygiene practices that can extend those functions. The tooth of the matter – is that the amount of teeth in your possession will depend on how well you take care of them. Proper efforts will not be fruitless – and you won’t wind up toothless.
Indeed poor oral hygiene is the most obvious and frequent cause of tooth loss. As discussed here, the consequences of failing to floss and brush regularly impact your whole body – even increasing your chances for heart disease. Poor nutrition can also damage your odds of keeping your teeth. Diets with too much acid, sugar and carbohydrates incite tooth decay. Poor habits such as biting your nails, bruxism and smoking will also cause your teeth to walk out on you. Along those lines of physical trauma over the long term, indeed playing contact sports without a mouthguard will certainly cause your teeth to drop (or be knocked!) out.
Benefits of keeping your teeth include no restrictions to your diet, and no impediments to speech. However, if you are or will soon be adjusting to dentures, these changes can all be taken in stride, with your Ottawa dentist, Dr. Jaleel ensuring the smoothest transition from gums to new teeth.