Comprehensive Oral Health Care Throughout the Ages: What to Expect Decade by Decade
No matter how old you are, ensuring you have healthy teeth is as crucial as undergoing regular physicals with your doctor. Good oral health by age ensures you’re protected from problems that can impact your smile, hinder your ability to chew food, and cause medical issues.
Here are a few things to watch for when you’re considering oral health by age. Learn what you can do to safeguard yourself and your family from these concerns.
Oral Health Care Starts at Age One
If you have children, you should introduce them to a family dentist by the time they turn one. Their initial visit will likely be a short introduction.
The dentist will check their gums and erupted baby teeth for issues and gently clean them. They’ll also talk to you about tooth brushing and any habits the child has that may impact their mouth in the future, such as using a pacifier, or sucking on their fingers.
Building a strong relationship between a child and their dentist helps kids understand the importance of oral hygiene from a young age. It also reduces the fear of the dentist, which can be common.
Decade by Decade: Oral Health Care by Age
The dental needs of individuals vary depending on the stage of life they are in. Here are a few common concerns for different age groups.
Childhood (0–10 Years)
During childhood, baby teeth erupt and later fall out (starting around the age of six). Baby teeth help children begin chewing their food and learn the basics of eating. However, as the child grows, their jawline changes, and new, permanent teeth replace the baby teeth.
During this time, dentists are primarily concerned with tooth decay. It’s common for young children to experience cavities as they’re still learning the basics of brushing and flossing. Children should have a dental cleaning and evaluation every six months.
It’s important to schedule your child for an early orthodontic evaluation around the age of seven. An assessment can tell you whether your child will likely need braces and what you can do to prevent their teeth from shifting further.
Teens (10–20 Years)
When a child grows into their teenage years, their adult teeth are visible. However, they may be crooked—especially if the teenager sucked their thumb in childhood or they have a genetic predisposition. Many parents provide their children with corrective braces to straighten the teeth.
Tooth decay also remains a concern. It’s vital that teenagers get into a routine of caring for their teeth, including brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist for regular cleanings.
Young Adulthood (20–30 Years)
During young adulthood, the last of the permanent teeth erupt. Known as wisdom teeth, these can be pretty problematic, causing infections and further shifts to the teeth. Most people opt to get their wisdom teeth removed rather than risk future issues.
Another common problem is gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes inflammation and may result in receding gums. Healthy gums are critical since they keep teeth in place and infections at bay. Fortunately, gingivitis is usually reversible, especially when caught early.
Middle Aged (40–65 Years)
Individuals who don’t care for their gums may develop periodontal disease, which increases the risk of other medical conditions, like diabetes. With periodontal disease, the gums recede and bleed. It becomes much easier for teeth to fall out—something no one wants.
Tooth sensitivity can also be a concern. Patients may feel pain when they consume cold food or drinks.
Tooth decay is yet another issue. Individuals should continue to undergo regular dental checkups and cleanings twice each year to catch any cavities early before more extensive care becomes necessary.
Older Adults (65+ Years)
It’s not uncommon for people over age 65 to require dentures. Experiencing periodontal disease in their younger years makes the likelihood of losing teeth more probable. Tooth loss can impact the ability to chew food or communicate with others, making dentures a necessity.
Patients with dentures must continue to care for their oral health even though they are missing some, or all, of their adult teeth. The gums become more susceptible to infections and bacteria, which can cause medical issues. It’s essential to clean your gums and teeth at least twice daily and continue seeing the dentist for checkups.
Patients may notice the symptoms of dry mouth (xerostomia), which include a lack of saliva and bad breath. Medications can cause dry mouth, as can the natural aging process. Engage in a healthy lifestyle to prevent dry mouth from worsening.
Good oral hygiene can prevent future dental issues.
To prevent some of the most common dental issues, like cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis, practice good oral hygiene. Remember to brush your teeth and floss twice daily.
You should also schedule regular six-month checkups with a dentist who will clean your teeth and look for any issues. If you notice any symptoms of dental problems between your appointments, schedule a visit with your dentist immediately. Are you looking for a dentist in Maryville, MO? Schedule an appointment with Compass Dental Group today.