How Does Dental Care Change as You Enter Adulthood?

infographic-howyourteethchangewithageYour teeth are strong. With proper care, they can last a lifetime. There are many changes that happen to your teeth as you age. Beginning at a couple months of age, your first teeth came in. Throughout your early childhood, your baby teeth fell out to be replaced with the permanent set you’ll have the rest of your life. You may have had to have your wisdom teeth extracted in your late teens or early twenties.

Now you’re entering adulthood. Your teeth should be strong and as they should be, right? You may think you can relax on dental hygiene because all your teeth are in now.

Early Adulthood

Well, the exact opposite is true. Your adult years will be the rest of your life meaning your teeth will be exposed to more wear and tear during this period than any other period. It is important to keep up with the same good dental hygiene practices your parents and dentist taught you. Being an adult opens doors to temptations such as eating more candy and unhealthy foods, drinking more soda, coffee and alcohol. You can begin a smoking habit or develop another unhealthy habit such as grinding your teeth and clenching you jaws. These will but added strain on your teeth and lead to wear. Adulthood is also the time when prior dental work such as fillings may come loose and need to get replaced.

During young adulthood, you need to continue seeing your dentist regularly, floss and brush your teeth twice a day, watch your diet and exercise. Limit the foods and drinks that destroy your teeth enamel.

Mid-Adulthood

The most common dental issue for middle-aged adults is periodontal disease. With hectic work days, and children to care for, personal dental hygiene practices tend to go by the wayside. Thus, plaque builds up in the surface of your teeth by the gum line. If not treated the plaque can damage your gums and jawbone which can result in losing teeth.

Strong dental hygiene is extremely important in your mid-adult years. It is during this period that fillings break down, the early stages of oral cancer typically get detected, temporomandular joint problems occur, gum disease can occur as well as tooth loss. The acidic and sugary foods and drinks have made a dent in your teeth enamel, making them sensitive and vulnerable to decay. If you smoke or drink excessively, you have a higher chance of getting throat cancer during this time. Some prescriptions you may be taking for aches and pains may dry out your mouth, opening the door to tartar, plaque and cavities.  It is estimated that adults ages 20 to 64 have on average three or more missing or decayed teeth.

Diet, exercise, proper dental hygiene practices and regular, routine office visits to your dentist are key in preventing the abovementioned dental health issues.

Late Adulthood

All the wear and tear from a lifetime of use continues to eat away at the enamel of your teeth. In late adulthood, may people lose multiple teeth from tooth disease or gum disease. Those who have smoked or heavily drank for many years are at a heightened risk of gum disease and various oral cancers. Many in their older adult years wear dentures to replace the missing teeth. Dentures have their own set of problems, with the most notable being their upkeep and maintenance. They need to be taken out and cleaned daily. Some can be uncomfortable to wear and not fit properly. Ill-fitting or dirty dentures can lead to plaque and bacteria build-up in the mouth.

During the later years, chances are you’ll be taking some sort of medication for a health malady. Our bodies naturally deteriorate and things don’t work or feel right. Medications can have potentially devastating side-effects to your dental health. The most common side-effect is dry mouth. Dry mouth is a problem because plaque and bacteria in the mouth thrive and grow in such an environment. Saliva is your body’s natural mouth rinser. It keeps tartar and plaque from building up on your teeth and gums. When saliva production is hindered, the greater chance one has at getting cavities and gum disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of people getting diagnosed with mouth, throat or tongue cancer is 62. Early stage cancer is easy to miss as it usually doesn’t involve pain or discomfort. Many older adults miss the signs, emphasizing the importance of regular dental visits.

At Out of This World Dentistry, we believe that the secret to navigating the dental changes and health risks over a lifetime begin with a solid beginning. Teaching children the importance of good dental hygiene care will help them avoid future dental problems. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child and help them begin the journey of a healthy mouth.

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