Oral health for every stage of life

Did you know? Your oral health is the gateway to your overall wellness. Maintaining good oral hygiene isn’t just about a bright smile; it’s crucial for your overall health at every stage of life. Here’s how oral health impacts your well-being across different ages. You are never too young to establish good oral hygiene, as soon as you start getting teeth, and hopefully keeping them, and you healthy throughout your life!

These are the different ages and stages of development and the possible effects of good and bad dental hygiene. I always say, “If you’ve got them, floss them” and “You only need to take care of the teeth that you want to keep.”

Infancy and Childhood (0-12 years)
Establishing oral hygiene habits early helps prevent cavities and gum disease, while also setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles.

Did you know that baby teeth play a crucial role in speech development and proper nutrition? It’s never too young to emphasize the importance of early dental care. Even the youngest children should not be put to bed sucking on a bottle of milk. Give a bottle of water in the crib, at least at the end and create your own good habits of not leaving allowing a baby to fall asleep with milk left on their gums and teeth.

Depending on where you live, it is wise to discuss with the dentist what are the best protocols for your children. If there is a fear or anxiety, or severe decay, consider a pedodontist whose offices are designed to put children at ease and can do dental work under anaesthetic if necessary.

Adolescence and Teenage Years (13-19 years)
Inevitable hormonal changes during puberty can greatly increase the susceptibility to gum inflammation and gingivitis, in addition to the common woes of acne, voice and sexual changes. This underscores the need for developing consistent oral hygiene habits that continue into adult hygiene practices instead of coping with bad breath and rotten teeth that contribute to lower self esteem. Losing permanent teeth at this stage has long term repercussions to your looks, how you chew and much more.

Adolescents may also face orthodontic issues that impact both oral health and as mentioned, their self-esteem. This makes the importance of regular dental check-ups twice a year to be essential, especially considering this is a time for being prone to peer pressures and eating more junk food.

Working-Age Adults (20-64 years)
Starting in your 20s, poor oral health, particularly periodontal disease, has been linked to systemic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Dietary habits, oral hygiene and lifestyle play large roles in these diseases when they are not autoimmune conditions. The interconnectedness of oral and overall health has ever growing repercussions.

Stress and busy lifestyles can contribute to oral health problems like bruxism (teeth grinding) and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), causing pain and inability to chew or eat and adding to elevated stress levels that require new intervention techniques and often extra dental care. Tooth loss may result in larger expenses for crowns, implants and dentures.

Older Adults (65+ years)
Aging increases the risk of oral health issues such as tooth loss, dry mouth, halitosis, and oral cancer. Here we see these risk factors impacting nutrition, speech, and the overall quality of life. If you required intervention at an earlier age, for dentures, implants, crowns and bridges, you may be facing the extra costs of replacing them again.

Regular dental visits are crucial for detecting and addressing oral health problems early. These regular visits are a big factor in promoting and maintaining overall well-being in older adults. The shape of your face and the ability to eat and chew once again become super important for your overall well-being.

I hope you will keep in mind, that developing these simple habits as early as possible, will make a noticeable difference in your life. Remember, most people prefer to keep their teeth in their mouths and their money in their pockets instead of the other way around!

If you would like to make an appointment or speak to someone about a dental concern, contact us. Our office accepts dental insurance and charges according to the BC fee guide.