No matter what stage of life you’re at, it’s always important to take good care of your teeth. However, your age and other factors do influence the types of problems your teeth might be affected by and the kinds of preventative treatment you need for good oral health.
Pediatric Oral Care
Kids have their baby teeth for only a few years, but it’s still important to take good care of them. One reason for this is that baby teeth act as a kind of template that helps adult teeth grow into the right locations. Another reason is that this first set of teeth helps kids learn how to take care of their oral health so that they understand how to keep their permanent adults teeth in good shape.
At this stage, oral care is mainly about preventing major problems such as tooth decay or misalignment. Dental treatments such as fluoride products and tooth sealants can help here. In addition, ensuring your child doesn’t suck their thumb or use a pacifier for too long is important to help prevent tooth alignment problems.
Adolescents and Teens
If a child needs orthodontic treatment, this will usually become apparent by age 8 to 12. Regular dental exams are important during these years, so that your child’s dentist can monitor tooth alignment and other issues as well as provide preventative treatment to reduce the risk of cavities.
This is an important time for parents to emphasize daily oral care, as the earlier kids develop good habits, the more likely they’ll be to maintain them for life. At this age they’re old enough to both understand why oral care is important, and independent enough to start developing good habits on their own merits.
Oral Care in Adulthood
Managing oral health in adulthood can become complicated, as habits such as tea, coffee drinking, and alcohol and tobacco use make teeth vulnerable to problems such as discoloration as well as a higher risk of decay and gum disease.
As well as tooth care, this is an important time to focus on routine maintenance and gum care to prevent advanced gum disease later in life that may lead to tooth loss.
At this stage of life, many adults start to think about the possibility of minor orthodontic work if alignment issues were not corrected during their teens. Clear aligners are particularly popular, as they’re an unobtrusive and convenient way of straightening teeth.
For people with ongoing oral health issues, middle-age is often the time when those problems start to become serious. For instance, for someone who has been battling chronic gum disease for a long time, tooth loss may become a possibility. At this stage, dental care may involve more advanced treatments such as scaling and root planing for gum disease treatment or tooth restoration if teeth have been extracted or have fallen out.
Good tooth and gum care continues to be vital, along with regular dental visits for maintenance and preventative treatment.
For seniors, a common problem is dry mouth caused by medication side effects. Many common medications, including those for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Parkinson’s disease, cause reduced saliva production. This increases the risks of gum disease and tooth decay, so finding ways to combat dry mouth is vital. Some possibilities include chewing gum and drinking water frequently throughout the day.
Good Oral Health Means
Tooth enamel is a strong substance that’s durable and hard-wearing, but teeth aren’t indestructible. Throughout life, it’s important to take great care of your teeth to protect them from decay and disease. And don’t forget that no matter how old you are or where you are in life, your dentist is always there to provide expert advice and great oral care!