Caring for your teeth is something you’ll do over the course of your entire life, and although you kind of get a practice round with your primary teeth, it’s good to understand how you should be caring for your teeth from birth to dentures. Below, we take a closer look at the many ways in which you can help to protect your teeth throughout different stages of your life.
- Infants and Toddlers – Kids begin to sprout their first teeth around the age of six months, and their full set of primary teeth will take a few years. Kids should have their first dental visit around the age of one, and parents can help to keep their teeth protected by using a tiny amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, to brush their teeth. Kids over the age of three should be brushing using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, twice a day.
- Kids – Kids can expect to begin losing their primary teeth between the ages of 4-7, until they are about 12. During this time, they should still be brushing twice a day and seeing the dentist twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings. Parents should strive to instill good brushing habits during this key period in a child’s life. Make the process fun by incorporating music, dancing or by brushing your own teeth while your child brushes their teeth. Mouthguards should be worn during youth sports to protect teeth.
- Teens – Adult teeth are usually in by the age of 13, and then wisdom teeth follow a few years later. Continue getting regular dental checkups to see how the wisdom teeth should be handled, as removal is common during this time period. Teens will be making some more diet choices on their own during this period, so try to offer tooth-friendly options and encourage water over sugary beverages when possible.
- Adults Under 40 – Gum disease is common among adults under 40, affecting about half of the population. To prevent against this, continue good brushing habits of brushing twice a day, flossing and making smart dietary choices. Visit the dentist on a semi-annual basis, and avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits like heavy alcohol consumption or tobacco use.
- Expecting Mothers – Hormones associated with pregnancy can put you at an increased risk for gingivitis, so good dental hygiene is very important. Continue to visit the dentist on a biannual basis, even when pregnant. Poor oral habits during pregnancy have been linked to premature birth and gestational diabetes, so do right by yourself and your baby during this time in your life.
- Adults Over 40 – Follow a similar plan as the previous category, but make sure you are also seeing your dentist at the first sign of problems. Cavities, gum disease and cracked or chipped teeth can be more common during this period after your teeth have been used for decades, and it’s easier to stop a small problem than to treat a big one. If you’re taking medications, talk to your dentist about how these medications could affect your oral health.
- Seniors – Dry mouth becomes more common as we get older, so consider chewing sugarless gum and drinking more water to help avoid problems associated with dry mouth. Keep getting semi-annual checkups, and reach out to your dentist if you notice changes with your teeth, sores develop, or you have sensitivity when chewing or swallowing.
For more tips, or if you have questions or concerns, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.