Dental care is a key component of overall health; from brushing and flossing every day to regular checkups and cleaning, good oral hygiene and habits may be the difference between a lifetime of strong and healthy teeth, and cavities and gum disease.
Everyone knows that dental care starts at home with the right oral hygiene routine, but did you know that it’s a family affair, too? Good dental care habits during the formative years carry on to adulthood and even on to later years, resulting in strong and healthy teeth that last a lifetime.
Thinking of booking your next visit to the dentist? Find out why you’ll need to bring the entire family with you, and discover the importance of family dental care:
Babies and Toddlers
From their first tooth to their first visit to the dentist, their first bite of solid food and learning to brush their own teeth, babies and toddlers go through a lot of dental milestones in the first two to three years of their lives — all the more reason that a young family needs complete dental care.
Baby teeth first grow in between 6 to 10 months of age, and by the time your little one is 3 years old, you can expect all their primary teeth have erupted. The moment their first tooth appears — which, in many babies coincide closely with their first birthday — it’s time to take them to your family dentist for a checkup.
During this time, it’s important to keep an eye on their teething process, which is often marked by tender and irritable gums, so try rubbing them with a clean finger or a frozen teething ring to soothe them. Another common habit to watch out for is thumb sucking, which can impact the development of the jaw and mouth, resulting in misaligned teeth that need orthodontic treatment when they grow up.
It’s never too early to introduce babies and toddlers to dental care — even in babies who have just started teething. You can clean their mouth with a soft, clean cloth after feeding. Once they start eating solids regularly, get them started on brushing using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste formulated with fluoride. Make sure to pick out a toothbrush that’s designed for toddlers; these usually come with soft bristles designed for gentle strokes for maximum cleaning and comfort.
Developing Good Habits with Children
Everyone knows that childhood is the most formative life stage. In dental care services, this is marked by the growth of primary teeth, particularly in functions such as chewing and eating, as well as determining proper alignment and spacing of permanent teeth. This means keeping a close eye on your kids’ dietary and oral hygiene habits to make sure that their strong, healthy smiles are built for life.
One of the most common dental problems that occur in childhood is cavities. These develop as a result of a taste for unhealthy, sugary treats, made worse by a lack of proper oral hygiene, together impacting the still-porous enamel of primary teeth that make them more susceptible to plaque buildup. That’s why an essential part of family dental care is limiting the number of sweets, sugary treats, and hard or chewy foods, and instead ensuring that kids develop healthy and nutritious eating habits. As they’re learning to take care of themselves, make sure to keep an eye on children while they brush their teeth, ensuring that they do it at least twice a day.
Tweens and Teenagers
If childhood years are some of the most formative, it is during tween and teenage years that your kids will learn to develop their own identity, habits, and lifestyle. Tweens — children between 10 and 12 years old — are set to lose the last of their primary teeth, working their way to permanent adult ones, particularly their second set of molars.
While good oral hygiene is essential at any age, it would be a good idea to pay attention to the oral health of young teenagers who are just getting used to their permanent teeth. Without regular brushing and flossing instilled in them, their adult teeth are more prone to decay, even leading to extraction.
During this time, the wisdom teeth, or the third molars, can grow in, also prompting extraction. In most cases, these impact otherwise well-aligned teeth and cause severe discomfort. Impacted wisdom teeth are also hard to clean, becoming infected without proper oral hygiene. Depending on the growth of their primary teeth, young teens may also need to wear braces to correct misaligned teeth, which will help them achieve a more beautiful smile as they grow up.
It’s also important to acknowledge that teens go through a lot of psychosocial changes during these times, as they are prompted to experiment to develop their own identity. Often, they are peer-pressured into fitting in, causing them to make rash and harmful choices; in terms of oral health, these often include piercings, drastic dietary changes resulting in eating disorders, and smoking. Don’t hesitate to ask your family dentist to help communicate these dental care risks to your teenage children, so they can be encouraged to make good choices.
Dental Care for Adult Life
It’s common to think that adults are set for life, thanks to a stable career, growing family, and good health. However, did you know that adults are also more likely to neglect proper dental care? That’s right — you could be so busy taking care of everyone else that it’s easy to forget about yourself.
For one, established dietary patterns, insufficient oral hygiene, and certain lifestyle habits greatly increase the risk of gum disease, such as gingivitis; more severe cases arising from total neglect of proper dental care can even lead to premature tooth loss. Moreover, if that’s not alarming enough, an increasing number of studies and discoveries in the dental field have pointed to health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation as being linked to poor oral health.
Just like how you make sure that your children brush and floss regularly, it’s important to make dental care a family activity. Aside from taking care of your own teeth, consider healthy lifestyle options, such as a healthy and balanced diet, proper hydration, limiting coffee and tea intake that ultimately stain teeth, and quitting smoking. Not only will you enjoy strong and healthy teeth for decades, but better overall health.
Dentistry for Senior Health
As part of the natural life cycle, bones tend to weaken in old age, resulting in loss of teeth. For grandparents, this means preserving their remaining natural teeth by preventing common dental care issues like gum disease and tooth decay.
In cases wherein tooth loss becomes severe, dentures are recommended to help seniors regain vital oral functions; just make sure that like natural teeth, their dentures are cleaned regularly. It’s also worth noting that oral health issues at this age are often tied to complications in the heart, digestion, and other vital organs or functions.
Good oral health and strong, healthy smiles concern the entire family. Bristol Dental Clinic offers dental care for each member of the family, at every stage of life.
To learn more about dental care for your family, call Bristol Dental at (866) 623-9216 or contact us here.