Dealing With Your Changing Oral Health Needs as You Age
Taking care of your teeth involves several universal principles: brushing, flossing, and watching what you eat. Beyond that, however, your changing oral health needs may vary depending on how old you are. For example, children have a different set of problems to worry about than older adults. In order to ensure your mouth is as healthy as possible, it’s important to know what problems may lie on the horizon for your age group.
Oral Health for Children
Just because a child’s mouth is filled with baby teeth does not mean you don’t have to take care of them. In fact, it’s important to treat them just like permanent teeth. If you don’t, they could become decayed or fall out prematurely, causing your child to have problems eating and speaking. Because this is such a formative age for children, any setbacks in this department could turn into lifelong handicaps. Additionally, baby teeth are what help guide permanent teeth into the proper position by keeping other teeth from moving into the wrong space.
Still not convinced? Studies show that children who have cavities in baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities in permanent teeth.
In order to prevent problems, start wiping your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt, and start brushing them when they are two years of age. Avoid fluoride toothpastes at first, as your child may try to swallow it. Additionally, schedule a dental appointment before your child is one year old, as a dentist can make sure everything is developing properly and safely.
Oral Health for Adults
As an adult, you’re susceptible to a number of different oral issues. For example, problems like periodontal disease, oral cancer, dental filling damage, or TMJ are all issues that develop in adulthood.
With periodontal disease, your gums become chronically inflamed, contributing to loose teeth or even tooth loss. In fact, after age 35, it’s more common to lose teeth because of periodontal disease than it is because of tooth decay.
While oral cancer is definitely a major risk for tobacco users, it most commonly occurs in males over the age of 40.
Because dental fillings only last for eight to ten years, they often begin to break down after time and will need to be replaced.
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorders, are a set of painful conditions that involve the jaw and bite.
To do as much as you can to prevent these issue, brush twice a day, floss once a day, and limit your intake of sugars. Also, visit the dentist once every six months for a comprehensive cleaning and checkup.
Oral Health for Seniors
In addition to adult oral health concerns, seniors have additional problems to consider.
Osteoporosis can cause rampant tooth loss, especially in women. In fact, women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to lose a tooth than women without it.
In some cases, Alzheimer’s disease can cause people to forget how or when to brush their teeth.
To maintain their oral health, seniors should schedule regular dental appointments, brush twice a day, and floss once a day. If necessary, they might require medication to help with osteoporosis or a caretaker to assist them with teeth brushing.
Regardless of your age, Dr. Mann can help with your dental needs. Call today to schedule your appointment.