Did you know that the foundations of good dental health are made before you even enter the world? Long before your first tooth comes in, paying attention to oral health is essential. Each stage of your life comes with different factors that can affect not only how wide you smile, but your overall health and well-being.
We aren’t here to lecture you or use scare tactics to get you to change your habits. Instead, we will outline why each stage of life is integral to your oral health and give helpful oral care management tips. Whatever stage of life you are in or whomever you are caring for, check out our tips for dental health at every age.
We are starting off by talking about mental health because it isn’t discussed enough. Just the mere thought of going to the dentist can raise fear in some people. However, these days, dentists are trained to offer a more holistic approach to healthcare, and this includes considering your mental health at every stage of life.
Giving a voice to your anxiety is vital in order to get the care that you deserve and will make for a better experience for all involved. If you find it challenging to speak up and voice your needs in person, consider sending the dental office an email in advance. They can book additional time for your appointment and better explain the various procedures.
Mental health isn’t simply about dental phobia, however. Your body’s health, your mental health, and your oral health are all interlinked. A severe toothache can lead to depression, which in turn can lead to self-neglect. The resulting poor oral hygiene can then circle back to social anxiety. Eating disorders like bulimia can cause dental erosion and halitosis to the extent that dental visits are avoided. Other mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive or bipolar disorder can lead to over-brushing and wearing away tooth enamel or damaging gums. Dentists are trained to spot these signs and act accordingly.
Most expectant mothers are constantly thinking about their health and shuffling between doctors’ visits and remembering what to eat, what to do and what to avoid during pregnancy. In the chaos, it might seem like dental visits can fall by the wayside; however, visits to the dentist during pregnancy are incredibly worthwhile.
It’s best to tell your dentist straight away if you are pregnant, or even if you think you might be. While some treatments might be postponed until after you’ve given birth, others are perfectly safe and recommended. Hormones, morning sickness, and nerves can affect your oral health, and it is better to get a proper exam and clean before you are busy with a newborn.
Babies and Kids
While babies are born with exposed teeth in rare cases, generally, their first tooth will arrive at around six months of age. However, even before this point, you can assist your child by getting them used to a toothbrush. Let them use a special baby toothbrush and guide them by practicing ‘brushing’ their gums. You can hold off on using fluoride toothpaste until teeth appear.
Ideally, plan to book your child’s first dental visit around the time that their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Cavities can arise at this young age, so continue to limit sugary snacks or juice and brush twice daily. Remember that even milk has a high sugar content, so it is best to avoid soothing your baby with a bottle at night. Expect to schedule dentist visits twice a year until adulthood.
Being a teen means going through a massive overall change in so many different aspects of life. Maintaining oral health might not seem like a standout issue; however, a lack of attention now can lead to larger issues, including a lifetime of social anxiety and poor health. If your teenager plays sports like baseball, football, or even snowboarding, then wearing a mouthguard is a wise idea.
Speak to your dentist about applying sealants to molars that can protect them from decay. Your dentist can also recommend whether braces or other orthodontics are advisable for cosmetic or health reasons and make a referral. If you’re interested in improving your smile, cosmetic dentistry can help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of, one that you can actually be proud of. During your teen years, maintaining healthy eating habits is essential for a lifetime of health, so ensure that you keep up with brushing and flossing, even if it means a bit of nagging.
How many times have you concentrated your attention on caring for others rather than yourself? Your dental health, just like your physical health and mental health, should be a priority and not only when there is an issue.
If you are experiencing pain, inflammation, or need emergency attention, call your dentist right away. However, be sure to keep to your annual appointments as well so that any issues can be isolated and cared for before they become a more significant problem. Drinking plenty of fluoridated water and avoiding sugary drinks will assist your oral health, but if you are consistently parched, then bring this up with your physician, as it can be a sign of a medical issue.
Just because someone is getting older, doesn’t mean that dental health should become less of a priority. Medications can affect oral health, so dentists need to be informed about what you’re taking to ensure the best senior care for your loved ones. Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day is as important as always, but these tasks might become more challenging with a loss of dexterity or arthritis. A dentist can recommend ways of making these tasks more straightforward, including the use of an electric toothbrush or one with a larger, easy-grip handle.
From the time that you cut your first tooth until long into your twilight years, attention to your dental health is essential. The American Dental Association recommends that you liaise with your dentist about maintaining a recommended visitation schedule based on your current needs.