Dental Health at Any Age

There is more to good oral health than having a dazzling smile. How you take care of your teeth, mouth and gums also have an impact on your overall physical health at any age. It is important to stay ahead of the problems with oral health that are unique to the different stages of life. As a parent, it’s good to know what you should expect as your child ages and as an adult you should know what to expect through different phases of your life. Here are some useful tips that will help you get the most out of your oral health throughout your life.

Infants

Even before your child’s first tooth comes in, you should be cleaning the baby’s gums. You can use either a soft bristled toothbrush or a washcloth to clean their gums. A child typically cuts their first tooth between 4 months to one year of age. As soon as their first tooth appears, it is important to schedule an appointment for your baby to see a dentist. Good oral hygiene tips for your baby includes:

  • Avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle of juice or milk. The sugars in the liquids will encourage the growth of bacteria, which damages tooth enamel and promotes cavities. If you have to use a bottle at bedtime, it is best to give the child water in the bottle.

Toddlers

When children reach toddler age; 1 year-3 years, they should begin learning how to brush their own teeth. Encourage toddlers to brush at least twice each day, typically after breakfast and before bedtime. If your toddler uses a pacifier or sucks their thumb, it can affect the shape of their mouth as well as their bite. So, it is strongly recommended that you talk to the dentist about how to get them out of this habit. During this age, juice should also be limited to only one small cup each day in order to limit their sugar intake, which can cause tooth decay.

Adolescents and Teenagers

As your children reach their pre-teen and teenage years, it is important to make sure they are brushing and flossing daily. During this age, children may need braces, so it is important to help them understand that as difficult and uncomfortable as the braces may seem, the benefits will outweigh the discomfort. Encourage children of this age to eat a healthy diet, consisting of fruits and vegetables, which will help keep their teeth and gums strong.

Early Adulthood

During your 20’s and 30’s there will be a lot of changes, including pregnancy. During pregnancy, women are highly susceptible to gingivitis, so it is essential that you take care of your teeth and gums before, during and after pregnancy. See your dentist routinely and make sure you brush and floss daily.

 

Middle Age

As you age, your teeth can become more sensitive as well as more susceptible to cavities and/or gum disease. If gum disease is caught early, it is reversible with treatment. Watch for tender, red, and/or swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. If gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss as well as have an affect on your overall physical health. As you age, wear and tear on your teeth is expected, so there may be some damage to your teeth. There are several techniques your dentist can use to help strengthen your teeth, such as crowns, which will help protect teeth from further damage.

Seniors

Seniors are highly susceptible to various dental diseases. Whether you still have your natural teeth or wear dentures, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing daily, flossing daily and visiting your dentist for routine examinations. If you are having pain, swelling or bleeding in your gums, it is important to have a check-up as soon as possible, because poor dental care, especially in seniors, can lead to heart disease and other serious health problems.

Regardless of the age category you fall into, it is important to maintain a daily dental routine, including brushing twice each day, flossing once a day and visiting your dentist regularly. The key to good oral health is eating healthy, avoiding sugary foods and having good communications with your dentist regarding your specific dental problems.