Understanding oral health throughout the various ages and stages of life can make a key difference in proactive treatment. Building a lifetime of healthy smiles can be as easy as education and a simple maintenance routine to continue with bright and healthy-looking teeth.
Dental Health for Expectant Mothers
Upon deciding to try for a baby, women should ensure that they visit the dentist as part of their pre-pregnancy checkup. The dentist will do a thorough cleaning and talk about some conditions that could affect women during their pregnancy. Some women find that regardless of their personal routine, pregnancy causes more gum bleeding and tenderness.
Additionally, pregnant women sometimes experience pregnancy tumors on the gums because of the body’s overreaction to bacterial invasion during pregnancy. Finally, research has shown a correlation between gum disease and premature birth. Therefore, it is critical to follow your dentist’s advice before and during pregnancy.
Expectant mothers can also present their children with a head start on their own teeth by eating a variety of healthy foods and a calcium supplement and prenatal multivitamin with folic acid. The appropriate supplementation drastically decreases the risk of a baby developing a cleft lip and palate.
Dental Health for Children
As part of a daily cleaning routine, parents can wipe the infant’s gums and tongue with a clean, damp washcloth after feedings and during bath time to control the buildup of bacteria. When teeth start to erupt between 6 and 12 months, parents can use a soft children’s toothbrush twice a day to clean the teeth and gum line, where decay starts. Please be advised that toothpaste is not recommended for infants and toddlers.
Dentists advise parents not to treat baby teeth as though they are disposable – developing good oral health routines while young will pay off through your child’s lifetime. Additionally, parents are encouraged to brush children’s’ teeth until the age of six as prior to this, children are unable to brush their own teeth effectively.
Children should start seeing a family dentist between one and two years old or whenever several teeth have emerged. Parents can also avoid feeding kids sweet foods; the American Medical Association recommends fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean meats and dairy such as cheese for children’s snacks.
Dental Health for Adults
Dental studies suggest that nearly one-third of adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay. When it comes to prevention, early detection is critical, however tooth decay is often painless in the early stages and can usually only be found during a dental exam. It is common knowledge that risk factors for dental health are often tied to one’s general health. Some of these are smoking and tobacco products, certain medications.
Diann Bomkamp, a clinical dental hygienist and president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, quantifies that, “There’s a direct relation between gum disease and other diseases.” Taking certain medications requires that you visit the dentist more frequently. Additionally, drinking municipal tap water (which is fluoridated) will reduce the occurrence of tooth decay. If you tend to be a consumer of bottled water, talk to your dentist about fluoride supplementation.
Dental Health for Older Adults
As our average lifespan lengthens and quality of life improves, it is more common that older adults can keep their natural teeth. However, even older adults need regular checkups at the dentist as they can be at increased risk to develop certain kinds of cancers and gum disease.
Seniors also tend to suffer more frequently with dry mouth and tend to have more medications that may affect oral health. Should you choose dentures, older adults need to check in with the dentist on a regular basis to ensure that the fit is correct, and the dentures stay clean.