As the decade draws to a close, plenty of people are looking to create New Years’ resolutions to improve their health through diet, exercise, and more. However, one aspect of health that often goes neglected is dental health and oral care. Whether you’re simply looking to improve your own smile or help your kids keep their teeth healthy for longer, use these tips as the starting point for incorporating dental health into your New Years’ wellness resolutions.
Infants and Young Children: Starting Early
One of the best ways to manage dental health is to start the process as early as physically possible. For parents, that means encouraging healthy dental habits as early as possible. When your children first have their baby teeth growing in, make sure you’re bringing them to the dentist. Just because baby teeth will fall out doesn’t mean they’re less important and don’t need close care. Up to 84.6% of children between the ages of two and 17 visited the dentist in 2016. Technically, children can start going to the dentist as early as a year old – once your child has teeth growing in, you should be looking at scheduling dentist visits for them. Remember to not use fluoride toothpaste on children younger than two without dentist recommendation.
Kids And Teens: Bigger Steps
Once your kids are brushing their teeth on their own, make sure you’re paying attention to how their teeth are growing in. As baby teeth fall out, permanent teeth will grow in to replace them, but they don’t always do so perfectly. This is just one reason why the best time to begin orthodontic treatment is at age seven. Most kids are reluctant to get braces, especially at this age. Today, some four million Americans are wearing braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. However, modern solutions allow you to straighten teeth even without wearing braces if you don’t want to. Clear aligners are becoming a popular situation for those who want straighter teeth without the cost or hassle of braces.
Adults: Maintain Regularly
Once all permanent teeth have grown in, maintenance is the name of the game. This means establishing a routine designed to promote dental health as well as overall wellness. Stick to a schedule for brushing and flossing teeth, and pay attention to what foods you eat and drink. Excessively sugary foods can promote tooth decay, and even drinks as common as coffee can cause staining that makes your teeth look dirty. In general, try to be more aware of what foods you’re choosing to eat, and when you can, look for organic options. According to a report on organic food and non-food sales, U.S. organic food sales amounted to approximately 45.21 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. Organic foods with fewer pesticides and preservatives can help improve dietary habits overall, which will extend into improved dental health.
Seniors: Adapt And Adjust
Finally, dental health problems can be a sign and symptom of aging. When this happens, a bit of adjustment is needed to your daily routine to maintain the healthy smile you’re used to. You’ll likely want to schedule more frequent visits with a dentist, or possibly find a dentist that provides more accessible care for those with other health issues related to aging. For example, if you’re losing your hearing with age, you’ll want to look for a dentist that can accommodate your needs so you feel more comfortable seeking care. About 20% of Americans report some degree of hearing loss; with this being relatively common, you’ll likely be able to find a care provider that can help you.
Don’t forget that advocacy is key in seeking medical care. While this is true of all ages, it’s especially true for aging populations; a recent study estimated that only one in 14 cases of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities. Your medical team, dentists included, should respect your care needs – speak up if you’re unsure about a procedure or medication.
Dental care is an important part of wellness for all ages, and incorporating these tips into your routine can help you live your healthiest life for the new decade. Share these tips with your friends and family who are planning to work on improving their health for the new decade.