Though some patients' fillings last a lifetime, it is not at all unusual for a patient to lose a filling and need it replaced. Silver fillings last, on average, about 10 – 15 years, and composite fillings may wear out somewhat sooner. Nobody wants to need a filling replaced, so it's in your best interest to ensure yours last as long as possible. To achieve this goal, make sure you avoid these three bad habits:
Eating sticky foods.
Foods like taffy and gum drops may taste good, but they're not great for your fillings. When you bite down on these foods and then open your mouth, a lot of suction pressure is put on your fillings. Over time, this can cause them to loosen and eventually fall out. These sticky candies also coat your teeth in sugar, which increases your chances of developing more tooth decay around the fillings. When this type of decay appears, it either leads to the filling falling out on its own, or the need for your dentist to replace it in order to address the decay.
Grinding or clenching your teeth.
Many people grind or clench their teeth when they are nervous without even realizing they are doing so. Others grind their teeth at night. Both of these habits can wreak havoc on your fillings. Start paying attention to whether you grind or clench when you're nervous. If you do, try to be more conscientious about avoiding this. Adopting a new, less dangerous worried habit, like tapping your toes or twiddling your thumbs, may help you break the habit of clenching your teeth.
If you wake up with a sore jaw, or if your partner tells you that you've been grinding your teeth in your sleep, talk to your dentist about being fitted for a mouth guard. This will ensure you don't harm your teeth and fillings with this habit.
Not flossing and brushing thoroughly.
Poor dental hygiene is a common cause of lost fillings. When you're not careful to clean your teeth properly, decay can set in around the fillings. Make sure you're brushing twice per day for at least two minutes. Setting a timer is a good way to ensure you're brushing long enough. Find a dental floss or dental pick brand that's easy for you to use, so you are not as tempted to skip flossing.
Be aware that even if you do follow the tips above, you may end up needing some of your filling replaced. They simply are not meant to be 100% permanent. However, you will need your fillings replaced less frequently if you avoid these bad habits. To learn more, contact a business like Hart Dayton DMD.