From childhood to adulthood, your dental health habits are important. Starting good habits as a child will lead to healthy habits as an adult. At every stage, there are different dental issues to look for, so here’s a guide, from toddler to adult.
- Even as babies, our teeth can get cavities, so daily cleaning is important from the beginning of our lives. Before babies have teeth, wiping their gums with a soft, clean cloth will help to get rid of unwanted bacteria. When teeth appear, use a toothbrush and toothpaste especially made for toddlers and children. Under the age of 3, use no more toothpaste than the size of a grain of rice, and for ages 3 to 6, use a pea-sized amount.
- Your baby’s first dentist visit should be six months after a first tooth emerges or before their first birthday.
- For toddlers, it’s helpful to make brushing fun and show them proper technique. Teaching and encouraging good habits early on can make a difference in the continuation of these habits in the future.
- Supervision of brushing is important up until the age of 8, approximately, and for flossing age 10.
- Sealants protect against cavities and are an option for children. Discuss with your dentist.
- This age group can be very active in sports, so mouth guards are important to protect against mouth injuries.
- The risk of cavities can be high for adolescents because of diet, lack of care and immature enamel. Dental health habits are important to keep steady in this stage – brush twice a day for two minutes, floss daily and schedule regular dental appointments.
- Keep healthy snacks available so it’s easier to choose the good rather than the bad choices.
- Gingivitis, or gum disease, can often begin during adolescence. Look for signs like gum redness, swelling, bleeding and tenderness. If you have any of these symptoms, talk with your dentist.
- As you keep up the habits you formed as a kid to brush and floss daily and visit the dentist regularly, avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and tobacco products to keep your teeth strong.
- As we age, the nerves in our teeth shrink, so you might not notice a cavity developing. Keep up your regular visits to the dentist so any issues can be detected before they become more serious.
- Oral cancer is most likely to occur after the age of 60. Symptoms include sores, red or white patches, lumps or rough spots, pain or numbness, and problems chewing or swallowing. Consult your dentist if you notice any signs.