teeth are overutilized and underappreciated, so give your pearly
whites a little love. Here are a few tooth basics to help you through
any stage of life.
In the dental
world, acid is the enemy. It eats away at your teeth and gums. Acid in
your mouth usually comes from the breakdown of bacteria, but soft
drinks and acid contribute to high pH levels. Saliva is your ally. It
helps rinse your teeth and remineralize the enamel.
rinsing, flossing, a healthy diet and going to the dentist will help
keep you on a good track.
Dental Association has a new recommendation that parents bring babies
to the dentist by the childís first birthday.
Michaels from Oconomowoc Dental Care is comfortable seeing children
for the first time between the ages of 1 and 3. But he says new
parents need to be aware of what is known as Baby Bottle Syndrome
before then. "Itís when parents leave the bottle in the childís
mouth overnight and it leads to horrible cavities. If you put water in
the bottle thatís fine, but anything else will cause decay since the
teeth are bathed in the liquid over a long period of time."
Also, baby teeth
serve as placeholders for your childís adult teeth so if your little
girl loses a back tooth too early from decay, she could have crowding
when her adult teeth come in.
young adults are more prone to tooth decay than any other age group.
is questionable, oral hygiene is lacking and the tooth structure has
yet to mature. Over time, the enamel gets harder but at this point the
tooth structure is still quite soft and less resistant to decay,"
says Dr. Ralph Pamenter, Brookfield Dental Care.
This is also a
period when braces are important if needed. The muscles and bones
supporting your teeth are still in the process or have just finished
developing. Pamenter says unaddressed alignment issues cause more than
crooked teeth. "Patients may end up with joint dysfunction or TMJ,
breathing problems or spaces between teeth where food can accumulate
and lead to more decay."
often rears its ugly head during your middle years, and it could be a
direct result of poor oral hygiene as a young adult. "Think of
gum disease like hard water that builds up around your sink. Now
imagine that build-up around your tooth. Itís been going on under
the surface for a decade or more and eventually the gum and tooth move
away and you lose support for your tooth," explains Dr. Matthew
Smith of Stone Ridge Dental in Waukesha. You may need deep cleaning, a
laser assisted procedure or even surgery to correct it.
disease, tooth restoration is a possibility for middle-aged people.
Teeth start to crack from wear and tear and fillings start to fail.
These cracks and fissures become excellent areas for bacterial growth
so brush, rinse and floss.
After the age of
55, you may not be producing as much saliva. Add to that, certain
medications for high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, diarrhea and
allergies can cause dry mouth. Now youíre dealing with a double
of the biggest dental problems that a lot of people donít know
about," according to Dr. Timothy Hart, who practices dentistry in
Shorewood. "A person can go his entire life without any tooth
decay and overnight develop significant problems." Hart says
using prescription toothpaste with extra fluoride will help.
prescription toothpaste and mouthwashes can be a big help at any age.
"Some patients are simply dealt unlucky cards when it comes to
body chemistry. They may take great care of their teeth but have
naturally higher acid levels in their mouths," Pamenter says.
"We can test their saliva for pH levels and prescribe different
products that can really help them keep their teeth healthy."