Whether you are a child, a senior, or somewhere in between, exercising strong oral health habits through proactive care helps significantly maintain both oral and overall well-being. Although brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups are the key elements for achieving a healthy smile; there are many other specific treatments designed for each age.
Below we will discuss the needs, concerns, and treatments available for obtaining a healthy, long-lasting smile at any age.
Infants and Toddlers
Implementing a strong oral hygiene routine is essential, especially at the earliest of ages, as it greatly contributes to lifelong oral health. When your baby’s teeth start to emerge, wipe the gums with a clean, moist washcloth and graduate to brushing with a child-size toothbrush.
The first dental visit should take place within six months after the first tooth appears, no later than your child’s first birthday.
Some common oral health concerns in infants include:
Baby bottle tooth decay- dentists advise against putting a baby to bed with a bottle or to use a bottle as a pacifier. Both can lead to tooth decay as anything besides water will contribute to the development of harmful plaque build-up.
Thumb sucking- your child should be weaned off thumb sucking before their permanent teeth come in because this action can cause serious problems with bite and tooth misalignment.
Children and Teens
Most kids begin to lose their baby teeth around age six or seven. Be sure your child has regular dental checkups and is receiving the proper amount of fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. Your trusted dental professional can provide necessary treatments such as sealants that guard against cavities and helps protect your child’s smile further.
For an image-conscious teen, looking their best is important for their overall well-being, and a bright, beautiful smile plays a big part. Unfortunately, most adolescents eating habits can put them at risk of tooth decay and other oral health concerns. Help encourage healthy eating habits in teens by implementing a more nutritional-based diet as well as having them drink lots of water.
Typical oral health concerns in children and teens include:
Malocclusion- crowded or crooked teeth and jaw misalignment become more apparent between the ages of six and 12.
Wisdom teeth- typically erupting during the late teen years, wisdom teeth may need to be removed, so they don’t crowd teeth, cause pain, or contribute to infection.
Adults and Seniors
Proper oral care is just as vital now as it was when you were a child. Neglected teeth and gums can lead to serious oral health complication such as infection, tooth loss, and the wearing down of gum-tissue and bone.
Maintaining a healthy dental environment in your senior years can significantly lower your risk of oral infections that may be associated with heart disease, complications in diabetes, ad other common health problems in older adults.
Common oral health concerns in adults and seniors include:
Gum disease- the first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which is reversible. If left to progress, gingivitis can develop into the more destructive form called periodontitis.
Teeth grinding- also known as bruxism, it often occurs unconsciously while you sleep and can cause severe damage to your teeth and jaw.
Oral cancer- initial stages of oral cancer often go unnoticed due to lack of pain. Open sores, white or reddish patches and changes in your tongue and cheeks that lasts for more than two weeks are all signs to watch out for.
By staying proactive with your at-home oral health care and visiting your dental professional every six months can help you, and your loved ones preserve long-lasting, beautiful smiles. We encourage you to call Darien Family Dental Care to schedule your comprehensive consultation today!