Dental Health Through The Years | Starts With Pediatric Dentistry
Knowledge about the conditions that affect oral-health throughout the different stages of life can be beneficial to dental health. This article will cover some of these conditions and provide information useful to help maintain strong and healthy teeth.
Dental Health: Pregnancy and Children
By eating a variety of healthy foods and taking supplements such as calcium while pregnant, expectant mothers can effectively give children a solid head start to a set of healthy teeth. Folic-acid supplements decrease the risk of babies being born with conditions such as a cleft lip and palate. After the baby’s birth, it is recommended that, after feedings, parents wipe the infant’s gums using a soft, damp cloth. This good oral health practice helps prevent bacteria from building up. Once a child’s teeth come in, which is typically at about six months old, parents may use a soft-bristled children’s toothbrush twice each day to clean their child’s teeth and gum line, which is where decay develops.
Some dentists also recommend that a parent brush their children’s teeth for them until they reach six years of age to instill good habits and and healthy oral care routine. Children are unable to effectively brush their own teeth prior to this age. Parents can also begin to take children to a pediatric dentist around one year of age. Another important habit that is often overlooked by parents is to avoid giving children foods that are sweet and sticky. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends alternate snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables, or cheese and crackers, that are both tooth-friendly and better for the body and overall health in general.
Dental Health: Adults
Nearly one-third of adults in the USA have tooth decay that is untreated as reported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most important aspect to proper treatment is early detection: tooth decay is often painless in the early stages and may only be noticed by a dental professional during a dental exam. Loss of bone around the teeth is a visible sign of periodontal disease and requires the intervention of a dentist.
Dental health risk factors are often tied to one’s overall health. People on high blood pressure or epilepsy medications or diabetic people should visit their dentist on a more routine basis. If you fall into one of these categories or have other medical conditions for which you take medication, talk to your dentist in regard to the recommended frequency of your checkups to best care for your teeth and gums.
Dental Health: Older Adults
More adults are keeping their natural teeth in their senior years even as people are living longer lives. Even with this trend, older adults still need to regularly visit the dentist, as they are at a higher risk of developing oral and throat cancers. Seniors also have an increased risk for problems such as the dry mouth and many may also be taking medications that can have adverse oral health effects. Even for those with dentures, it is still very important to visit the dentist regularly.
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