Dental needs can easily be divided into two categories. There is disease that is caused by bacteria and disease caused by function. I am amazed at how many patients seem to point to us the clinician as the causative factor when we tell them they have something wrong. But in reality, most individuals have significant control over their own dental breakdown and issues.
First off, if you want to save your teeth a lifetime, Brush Them! Bacteria cause approximately 50% of our dental issues. Our mouths are full of a multitude of microbes. These microbes use the food and liquids we introduce to our mouths to feed themselves. They produce by-products in much the same way we do. These by-products often are very acidic, and thus dissolve our teeth and or cause gum disease by creating a host immune response. Also, our teeth develop a biofilm where these bacteria colonize and live. So, for those of you who brush once a day and are not careful of what you eat or drink, you are losing the battle.
The second most common negative influence on our teeth is abnormal function. This can be caused by tooth size/skeletal size discrepancies, loss of teeth, shifting of teeth, grinding your teeth, or clenching. The abnormal forces on the teeth created by these issues create wear, chipping, mobility, fracture, supporting structure breakdown, joint breakdown, muscle pain and eventual loss of teeth. There are numerous ways to try to treat these issues. A highly trained dentist or dental hygienist will help recognize these issues and can use preventative or corrective treatments to minimize the effects of this functional breakdown.
So, it is really up to you how much dental work you will need over time. Your best bet is to use an electric toothbrush, brush 2-3 times a day, floss, and use a fluoride. rinse. If you have sore teeth, muscles, or joints, tell your dental team. It really is that simple.