Great dental health begins at the very moment a child’s tooth first erupts and continues throughout a person’s lifetime. However, there are particular concerns for dental care at each age:
Baby & Toddler Dental Care
Your baby can expect to get 20 baby teeth between the ages of 6 months and three years, and tooth decay can occur from the very first tooth. Proper brushing should begin with the first teeth. Use a child-sized toothbrush and a smear (size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth gently twice a day. After age 3, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
You should schedule your baby’s first dental visit before they turn age one so that proper dental care can begin early. Watch out for “baby bottle tooth decay” which can occur when the baby teeth are exposed to sugary drinks like fruit juices for a prolonged period of time. Water is the best beverage. To prevent cavities, ask us about sealants that can provide a protective coating on your toddler’s teeth.
Teen Dental Care
Getting teens to brush is one thing, but there are so many more things to think about when caring for their teeth. Teens often require braces to realign teeth or correct a bad bite. Ask us whether your teen qualifies for Invisalign invisible braces! If your children (adults too!) play sports or grind their teeth in their sleep, you will want to protect their teeth with a custom-fitted mouth guard. Know also what to do in a dental emergency.
Eating a good diet can help oral health as well as prevent bad breath. Limit sweets, and choose snacks like fruit, cheese or raw vegetables. Avoid sticky foods, hard candy and chewing on ice. Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste, along with flossing once a day should become a regular routine. Be especially diligent if braces are attached.
Young Adult Dental Care
Adults to about age 40 should continue to maintain good dental care at home and, as with any age, see the dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and checkup. Keep your eyes open for any signs of gum disease such as bleeding or receding gums, or frequent gum infections. Ask your dentist if you are showing signs of tooth grinding or have sensitive teeth.
Women in this age group should also know how to care for their teeth during pregnancy (see our blog post on Pregnancy and Dental Care.)
Middle-Aged Adult Dental Care
As we age, we would like to look younger, and we certainly can help you brighten your smile with a variety of cosmetic dentistry treatments including tooth whitening, and porcelain veneers. And don’t be afraid to get braces, no matter what your age. With the convenient Invisalign tooth straightening system nobody even has to know you’re wearing them! Keep up the good work of at-home dental care of brushing and flossing, and use a fluoride dental rinse to help restore teeth in the ages between 40 and 60.
Medications can take a toll on our teeth, and we like to keep an eye out for oral cancer or effects of diabetes. Stick to a healthy diet and kick the smoking habit (if you smoke). Please keep us informed of all your current medical conditions and medications so we can offer the best treatment options. If tooth loss occurs, know that you have several advanced options available, including dental implants, veneers, dentures and bridges. Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.
Senior Dental Health Care
Over the age of 60, we like to take special care of our patients’ dental health so that they can keep their teeth throughout their lifetimes. The advanced methods of dental care and training available to us helps.
As we age, we produce less saliva, a condition that can be complicated by certain medications. Your saliva is necessary to wash away bacteria to help prevent plaque buildup that can cause gum disease. When you come in for your regular checkup, we’ll look for any signs of oral cancer, bone loss or dental decay. Osteoporosis is a special concern among the senior community, so calcium can play a big role in keeping a strong jaw bone. Get your calcium intake from low-fat dairy foods.
And don’t forget that we offer a Senior Discount!
Advanced Family Dentistry, Your Reston Family Dentist
At Advanced Family Dentistry, we want to be your dentist for life. Bring the whole family into our Reston, Virginia office for comprehensive and advanced dental services. Make your appointment today.
Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim, DMD
11876 Sunrise Valley Dr, Suite 101
Reston, VA 20191