Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for people of all ages. However, the approach to oral care may vary depending on a person’s age and stage of development. Infants, children, teenagers, adults, and seniors all have unique dental needs that require specific care and attention. Our teeth evolve as we do and our oral care routine should evolve as well. It is a critical part of our health and well-being. By understanding the different approaches to oral care at different stages of life, you can take steps to ensure that you and your loved ones maintain healthy teeth and gums throughout your lives.
Viren Khuller, Director of STIM Oral Care, shared with HT Lifestyle, the best oral care practices for different age groups and how they can help maintain healthy teeth and gums.
1. Infants (0-12 months old)
- Clean your baby’s gums with a clean, damp muslin cloth after each feeding.
- Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, as this can lead to tooth decay.
- Whether your baby has grown teeth or not, infant brushes or finger brushes can be used to clean gums as well as teeth.
- Infants (6-36 months) should use fluoride-free toothpaste with xylitol as it provides defence against bacteria, thus preventing cavities.
2. Children (3-10 years old)
- Encourage your child to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Help your child floss once a day to remove food particles and plaque from between teeth.
- Make sure your child has a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products to support healthy teeth and gums.
- Take your child to the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
3. Adolescents (10-15 years old)
- Encourage your teen to continue brushing and flossing regularly.
- Talk to your teen about the importance of avoiding sugary and acidic foods and drinks, which can damage teeth.
- Regular use of fluoride toothpaste will help to strengthen the enamel.
- A toothpaste with xylitol helps prevent cavities as it cannot be processed by bacteria.
4. Adults (18-64 years old)
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and interdental cleaning at least once a day.
- Limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks, which can cause tooth decay and erosion.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, and discuss any concerns you have about your oral health.
5. Seniors (65 years and older)
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and interdental cleaning daily.
- Stay hydrated to keep your mouth moist and prevent dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Talk to your dentist about any changes in your medication regimen, as some medications can cause dry mouth or other oral health problems.
- Discuss any concerns about dental health and ageing, such as tooth loss, with your dentist.
- If you have dentures, it is important to use a denture brush to clean properly along with toothpaste made for dentures to kill any plaque accumulation on the dentures.
In conclusion, oral care is important at every age, and there are specific steps you can take to maintain good oral health throughout your life. By following these tips, you can help prevent dental problems and keep your smile healthy and bright.