The Whole Tooth – Reasons to see a Dentist at Any Stage of Life
We know we should. We mean to. But many times, we put off visiting the dentist until there’s a problem – like intense pain.
This approach is a big mistake.
“Dentistry’s strength is in it’s model of prevention.” said Mary J. Hayes, DDS, spokeswoman for the American Dental Association. She likens oral care to car care: regular maintenance can prvent needless disasters.
“And we should care for our teeth at least as well as we do our cars.” She says.
1 YEAR OLD
Forget what you’ve heard: the ADA – along with the American Academy of Pediatries and other experts – now reccomends that a child see a dentist around his or her first birhtday. “A lot of decay starts in very young children and can be very hard to treat.” Hayes says.
Between regular checkups, Hayes reccomends, children should visit a dentist if anything seems “off”. You probably wouldn’t know if your your child had a cavity: If you see anything, that means it’s pretty big.” It’s also a good idea to have a dentist check your childs mouth if he or she had a fall with a chin impact. Teeth can chip with out the parent or child realizing it.
TWEENS AND TEEN
One hazard: increased soda consumption. “Both regular and diet sodas harm teeth.” says Hayes, “because the phosphates they contain interfere with calcium deposition.”
Most adults should visit a dentist every six months to a year. Some people, however, accumlate a lot of calculus, or tartar, because thier body chemistry. If you find you’re one of them, consider having a cleaning three to four times a year. Still tempted to put off that checkup? “Dentists can screen for oral cancer, which can be devastating if not caught early.” Hayes says.
“Older people need to keep up with dental care and keep those natural teeth intact for as long as possible,” Hayes says. “As we age, we have enough problems without our nutrition being compromised because of trouble eating. And you wouldn’t want to add a dental problem on top of other health issues.”
-By Caolyn Sperry
GateHouse News Service
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