Sunday, March 30, 2014

Teeth Cleaning At Any Age

Taking good care of your teeth is an important part of personal health no matter what age you are. Oral health and general health go hand in hand; you can't be healthy and feel well without having good oral health.

Because oral diseases are progressive and cumulative over time, starting your life with good oral health is very important. As your child grows, healthy teeth and gums are crucial for their speech development, healthy eating habits and the confidence to have good social skills.

Cavities are the most common type of oral issue kids have. Cavities can most likely be prevented by brushing teeth and flossing once or twice daily. Removing plaque build-up and any sugar that sticks to teeth is imperative to the prevention of cavities. Family history is also an important key to whether a person will have tooth issues, however even if cavities and gum disease run in your family you can still stave off bad things as long as possible if you maintain good oral hygiene.

Brushing your child's teeth twice daily, especially right before bedtime, is a great way to start their oral health the right way.

First Dentist Visit

Opinions vary on when children should have their first dental checkup. Some advice says to have your child have a quick first checkup around their first birthday. This may be a bit extreme since your baby may not even have many teeth at this age. Some doctors advise to have your child start regular dental checkups around three years of age.

Before you take your child to your regular family dentist, it's a good idea to call ahead and make sure your dentist is comfortable treating children. There are dentists who practice specifically in pediatric dentistry. No matter which type of dentist you take your child to, their very first visit should be all about having a positive experience so they are not afraid to continue going to regular checkups. A good dentist will build trust with your child and explain to them what is going to happen so they are not afraid. In some practices, parents may stay in the room with their child and perhaps hold their hand so they are not quite so frightened this first visit.

Regular Checkups

Your child's dentist will be able to make a recommendation on how frequently they should be getting regular checkups. A safe bet is to have them every six months, the same as adults. This may change to a more frequent status if they need extra work done, such as fillings, braces, or anything else above and beyond a regular cleaning and checkup.

Adult Visits

Continue the twice yearly dental visits through adulthood. Even if you don't have any mouth or jaw pain, or can't see any deficiencies in your teeth, regular dental visits are mainly about prevention. Dentists can catch things happening in your mouth and teeth before they become a painful problem for you.

However, if you develop issues within your teeth or gums, you may have to have more frequent visits to the dentist. Some patients can be seen every 3-4 months if they suffer periodontal disease or gum disease.

As people age, so do their teeth, and they become more likely to be susceptible to cavities and oral diseases. Don't put off your dental visits; the less frequently you visit the dentist, the fewer chances you are giving yourself to fight off problems that may come up with your teeth. No matter how well you maintain your good dental routine at home, there are build-ups that naturally occur that only your dentist can remove.

If you want to keep your original teeth as long as possible (and trust that's the best way to go), make sure you are brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and getting professional dental checkups twice a year.

By Renee Maikon DDS
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