We’re going to let you in on a secret: You can live to be over 100 years old and still have all of your natural teeth. That’s right—there’s no reason that you should expect your teeth to fall out when you get older. Your teeth are built to last, and by taking advantage of some of best dental hygiene technology on the market, you can ensure that they stick around as long as you do.
As you age, your dental care requirements change. When you’re young, you may use a certain toothpaste and when you’re older, that might switch entirely. Today, Dr. Tim Kosinski in Bingham Farms, MI is here to talk about your oral health throughout your life and how to keep your pearly whites pearly until the very end.
Infancy – Take Care of those Baby Teeth
Even before your first teeth erupt, your parents should be taking care of your gums. Using a washcloth or small scrubber, your parents should wipe your gums clean after meals to keep them from developing bacteria or decay. Once teeth erupt, your parents should clean each one with a soft toothbrush and a smear of infant toothpaste.
By your first birthday, you should have several of your baby teeth, so you should see the dentist around that one year mark and every six months after that for the rest of your life.
Childhood – Developing Good Habits
Your baby teeth should all be in around your third birthday. By now, your parents should still be brushing your teeth for you but allowing you to explore it on your own. They should show you how to brush and floss, and then help you until you have the fine motor skills to do it thoroughly on your own.
Remember that even though these teeth will come out, they serve as a foundation for your permanent teeth. If they’re wrought with decay and other health issues, your permanent teeth underneath could erupt in bad condition.
Around age six, you should start losing your baby teeth and will continue to lose them until about 13 or 14. Throughout this time, you should be seeing your dentist regularly, learning how to brush and floss, and collecting lots of money from the Tooth Fairy!
Teen Years to Young Adulthood – Correcting Problems
After the last of your permanent teeth grow in, it’s important to get into the dentist’s office. These are the teeth that you will have for the rest of your life, so you want to ensure that they’re taken care of from the very beginning.
A lot of teenagers will need orthodontic treatment to correct crooked teeth or a bad bite. While it may seem like a chore or an embarrassment, the few months or years that you spend in braces will pay off. Straight teeth not only look good—they’re healthier in that they’re easier to clean and care for and boost self-confidence.
As a young adult, between the ages of 17 and 22, you may need to have your wisdom teeth taken out. Most people do not have enough space in their jaws for the last four molars that erupt, and if left in the mouth, they can cause overcrowding and alignment issues. Ask your dentist to take an x-ray if you haven’t had one in awhile, and they’ll determine whether or not your wisdom teeth need to be extracted.
Adulthood – Monitor and Maintain
Congratulations! If you’ve been practicing healthy oral hygiene habits throughout your entire life, you’re entering your adulthood with strong and beautiful teeth.
If you want to keep them that way—which of course you do—you will need to be diligent with your oral hygiene. Choose a fluoridated toothpaste and a brush with soft bristles. Brush twice every day and floss at least once. Limit your consumption of sugary snacks, drinks, and desserts, and make sure you rinse your mouth out to get rid of the bacteria after you indulge.
Seeing your dentist every six months has never been more important. As you age, your risk for oral cancer and gum disease increases greatly. Regular oral cancer screenings and hygiene visits are the best things that you can do to keep your smile healthy.
Old Age – Adjust as Needed
If you’ve taken vigilant care of your oral health throughout your adult life, your teeth are probably in good shape. They may have darkened just a bit or grown duller, but they’re still healthy, strong, and beautiful.
As always, brushing and flossing are still extremely important. If you’re finding it a bit difficult to brush as thoroughly as you need to, consider switching to an electric toothbrush.
Seniors are more susceptible to gum disease and oral cancer than other age groups, so see your dentist every six months or more. All it takes is a few minutes each day and an hour every six months to ensure that you keep your natural teeth forever!
A Dentist for All Ages
And there you have it! A comprehensive guide to taking care of your teeth throughout your life. We want your natural teeth to last forever here in Bingham Farms and we’re always accepting new patients of all ages. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Timothy Kosinski today to ensure your teeth stay healthy for your entire life!