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What can I do to save my teeth?

The most important thing you can do to keep your teeth is to schedule regular dental visits and to always brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Although many Americans today enjoy excellent oral health and are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives, cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood.

If you are experiencing dental pain, don't put off seeing a dentist. Dental disease is almost entirely preventable and oral health is just as important as the health of the rest of your body. Untreated dental disease can lead to serious health problems such as infection, damage to bone or nerve, and tooth loss. Infection from tooth disease can even spread to other parts of the body and in rare cases, can lead to death.

Losing your teeth won't just affect your appearance. It will affect how you eat and speak -- imagine trying to chew a steak or have a clear conversation without your teeth. But if you protect your teeth today, you won't have to worry about losing them in the future.

First, practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily. See your dentist for all of your regularly scheduled cleanings and exams. And don't smoke. Lighting up does more than increase your risk for cancer and lung disease. It can also damage your gums, leading to tooth loss. Finally, don't underestimate the value of a healthy diet for protecting your teeth. Limit sugary sweets, and instead eat nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products that will keep your teeth healthy and strong.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.