April 23, 2024
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Hygiene

Oral hygiene tips for every age and stage of life

Age-specific oral health tips guide you through every life stage, ensuring a lifelong journey of well-being. Expert advice emphasises the importance of oral care for a healthy, radiant smile at every stage.

Every year on March 20th, we celebrate World Oral Health Day, a global campaign promoting the importance of oral hygiene for overall well-being. This year’s theme, “A Happy Mouth is a Happy Body,” emphasises the connection between a healthy smile and a healthy you. But oral health needs change throughout life.

According to expert, Dr Sheetal Kochhar, (Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics), Max Multi Speciality Centre, Panchsheel Park, as we age our teeth and gums undergo changes. Maintaining good oral health like physical exercise is a lifelong commitment. From the first day, the tooth erupts in the oral cavity to our old age our oral health plays a pivotal role in maintaining our well-being. The various pointers that can help us maintain a healthy and radiant smile.

Early Ages (0-12):

  • Start early: Oral hygiene care should start as the first tooth erupts. Soft baby brushes and fluorinated toothpaste (pea size) for ages 3 and above and for younger than 3 years rice size smear of toothpaste should be used. Young children aren’t able to brush their teeth well enough so they need an adult to do it for them. Parents should supervise their children’s tooth brushing once they have developed proper motor skills (around 8 years) to ensure that all surfaces of the teeth are well cleaned. Regular dental checkups will help parents recognise the possible problems that can arise and be attended to at the earliest.
  • Diet: Encourage a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Limit sugary snacks and beverages to prevent cavities.

Teenagers (Ages 13-19):

  • Orthodontic care: It is very important to take recommendations from an Orthodontist for braces/clear aligners to ensure proper alignment.
  • Oral hygiene routine: Reinforce the importance of brushing and flossing. Teens should brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
  • Caution with sugary drinks: As children become more independent they have their own choices of food . The parents need to encourage and educate them to eat the right kind of food and to avoid sugary and sticky food.

Adulthood (Ages 20-50):

  • Regular dental check-ups: Regular dental check-ups, cleaning of teeth and restorations of carious teeth should be done at the earliest.
  • Stress management: High stress levels can contribute to grinding and clenching of teeth especially during sleeping and other oral health issues. Wearing a night guard can be of great help.
  • Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can impact oral health. Quit smoking and drink alcohol in moderation.

Middle Age (Ages 51-65):

  • Gum health: Pay attention to gum health. Gum disease becomes more prevalent with age. Brush gently and floss regularly.
  • Check for oral cancer: Attend regular dental check-ups, and be aware of any changes in the mouth. Oral cancer risk increases with age and also with habits like Smoking and tobacco chewing.

Seniors (Ages 65 and above):

  • Regular dental visits: Continue regular dental visits for cleanings and check-ups. Address any issues promptly.
  • Proper denture care: If wearing dentures, clean them daily and visit the dentist regularly for adjustments.
  • Stay hydrated: Dry mouth is common among seniors. Stay hydrated and use oral substitutes like artificial saliva if needed. Your dentist is the best person to advise you for the same.

No matter your age, maintaining good oral health is a lifelong journey. By following these age-specific oral health tips, you can enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile at every stage of life. Remember, a healthy smile contributes not only to your physical well-being but also to your confidence and overall quality of life.

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