Statistics show that most Americans lose teeth as they age. In fact, the average American has already lost 12 teeth by the time he or she has reached the age of 50.

While tooth loss among aging adults is very common, you can avoid it and prolong the life of your natural teeth by developing good habits. The following are five things you can do to make your teeth last as long as possible:

Get your teeth cleaned professionally regularly

Professional cleanings are really important for removing plaque and other residue that can cause tooth decay. They're also effective at detecting dental problems early so that they can be repaired with minimal damage to your natural teeth.

Avoid using your teeth to pry open bottles and cans

Unfortunately, many people have a bad habit of using their teeth like tools to open bottles and other containers. This can chip away at the enamel and the tooth itself. Any chips or cracks in the teeth can allow bacteria to get down into the tooth and eventually the dental pulp so that cavities and root canals destroy the teeth.

Use a night guard if you tend to grind your teeth while sleeping

Statistics show that as many as 15 percent of Americans grind their teeth. Teeth grinding can wear away the teeth over time and cause patients to prematurely lose their teeth.

Fortunately, it's easy to prevent long term damage from teeth grinding through regular use of a night guard. A night guard prevents teeth grinding during sleep from wearing away the teeth. Though it may take some getting used to, a night guard will eventually feel natural so that it doesn't pose any problems when you're trying to fall asleep.

Don't consume acidic substances with excessive frequency

Acidic substances are hard on enamel. Beverages like orange juice, beer, and wine are high in acid and will wear away the enamel. If you consume acidic beverages, be sure to rinse your teeth off immediately afterwards.

It's a good idea to get in the habit of eating cheese after a meal because substances found in cheese are known for neutralizing acids and strengthening the teeth.

Brush, floss, and control bacteria in your mouth

Of course, oral hygiene is probably the most important factor when it comes to prolonging the life of your teeth. Brush and floss every day, and control decay-causing bacteria with regular use of an antiseptic mouthwash.

Contact a dentist, like Oral Surgery Center, for more help.