Most of us have thirty-two of them, give or take a few. And if we don’t take care of them, then it could affect more than our smile. It can also affect our overall health.
We’re talking, of course, about your teeth. A lot of people think of dental health as purely cosmetic, but it’s not. Good dental health is vital to good overall health, regardless of if you’re three years old or eighty-three years old.
For kids, losing teeth can actually be fun. They get a lot of attention from their parents for it, and they may even get a visit from the Tooth Fairy. There’s also something especially cute about a kid with a gap-toothed grin.
Children have twenty baby teeth, also known as primary teeth. They first start teething when they’re only a few months old, but by the time a kid is about three, all of their primary teeth should have come in. They have ten on top and ten on bottom. However, just because the teeth are temporary placeholders doesn’t mean they should be neglected. It’s vital for kids to start taking good care of their teeth as soon as possible. By the time they’re two or three, they should have gone on their first visit to a dentist. The dentist won’t do a whole lot on that first visit; it’s mostly about establishing a relationship and ensuring the child is as comfortable as possible. After that, kids should get on a regular schedule of dental check-ups.
Most kids lose their first teeth around the time they start kindergarten, at roughly age five or six. The last tooth baby tooth should be gone by their early teens. That’s also a time when many kids find out they need braces. Braces aren’t always comfortable, but they work wonders when it comes to fixing overbites, underbites, and other issues. They aren’t exactly cheap, even with dental insurance, so it’s worth exploring several funding options, including taking out a loan from your local credit union.
By the time you’re old enough to vote, your dental situation is probably fairly stable, although your dentist may still recommend taking out your wisdom teeth if they’re in danger of crowding your mouth. It’s still important to brush and floss regularly. If you’re drinking a lot of coffee or smoking a lot of cigarettes, you can look into options for whitening your teeth. And quitting smoking will help your teeth and your overall health.
If your mouth is unhealthy, it can easily cause problems for the rest of your body. Gum disease is bad, especially since it can put you at a higher risk for things like heart attack and stroke. So dental plaque isn’t just icky to think about it; if it goes unchecked, it can also cause other issues.
Adults who have trouble paying for regular dental visits may find some relief via low-cost dental clinics in their community. Another option can be found via university dental clinics, some of which offer better rates than you’ll find at a typical dental practice.
Many older people find themselves in need of dentures. Dentures are certainly a better option than going toothless, but they’re still something of a hassle. The best option is to treat your teeth well throughout your life, so that as you get older, you’ll keep as many of your original adult teeth as possible. It’s easier to care for your teeth than to replace them.