Good looking teeth and oral health care go together.
A bit like Starsky and Hutch, sunshine and smiles, and Princess Leia and Hans Solo, they’re kind of inseparable.
And that’s a good thing.
Good looking teeth are a signpost for our health as much as they are an indicator of the age and stage we’re at in life.
We may not consciously think of it as such, but this relationship with our teeth is for life and it changes over time.
How it changes depends on many factors, not least of which is our age. With the average lifespan of men and women now 81 and 84 years respectively, paying more careful attention to oral health care is a legitimate and worthwhile consideration. And it’s the best pathway to maintaining and keeping teeth looking good.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t give our teeth and oral health the time and attention they deserve until we absolutely have to. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Let’s check out where you are on the age and stage scale and work out what you can do to make sure your teeth last the distance.
Kids and Teens: learning responsibility for good looking teeth and oral health care
As children, we’re told to look after our teeth by parents and carers. It takes time, patience and diligence (and even a few arguments!) for parents to instil responsible oral health care in kids. The bottom line is though, by the time your babies have grown into teens, they really need to ‘own’ responsibility for their oral health care. Sadly, this is the time when many teenagers, in a bid to assert their independence avoid their teeth. They don’t often correlate looking good with teeth – until they start to become more conscious of their teenage appearance! And this can be the doorway to encouraging healthy habits that lead to good looking teeth for life.
Regardless of resistance, it’s vital parents invest in building solid preventive oral health practices in kids and teens. It’s the ideal time to educate and raise awareness around:
- Dietary demons like sugar
- The importance of good oral hygiene habits
- Preventing decay
- Early interceptive treatment that can prevent or reduce the need for braces and other teeth straightening treatments.
Carefree or careless: dental demise during the 20’s and 30’s
Beyond the teens, we move into our carefree 20’s and 30’s.
The transition from our teens with its newfound freedom can leave us feeling invincible, evident in many patients in this age bracket who have an attitude of ‘Teeth? What teeth?!’. For many, teeth and oral health care take a back seat during this period as life takes over. This is a big mistake.
People in this age bracket face issues such as:
- Fillings that emerge because of a poorly maintained oral hygiene routine
- Crowding that occurs when teeth have not been correctly straightened during childhood and teen years
- Wisdom teeth that have become troublesome.
This is also the period during which many women start to have children. Correct dental care during this time is essential and can impact on overall health for mum’s and bubs.
If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s – or know someone who is – share this blog with them. It could save their teeth and prevent more complex issues arising in subsequent years.
Focused 40’s and 50’s: The reality of teeth
As we hit the forties and fifties, we’re not feeling quite so indestructible and teeth start to feature in our health care as a matter of necessity. We sit up and start to pay attention because we realise they’re the only set we have.
Issues which typically emerge during this time include:
- Teeth shortening and staining due to lifestyle choices (thanks to red wine, coffee, and smoking)
- Teeth being lost due to lack of care
- Gums receding and exposing more of the tooth.
Along with these issues comes more complex and generally more costly treatment as restorative dental solutions may be required. Adjustments to lifestyle may also be in order if further deterioration is to be prevented.
As a consequence of the change in life season, particularly because kids have flown the coop, there is space (and dollars!) for mum and dad to invest in their own health and wellbeing. We frequently see women in this age bracket taking time to straighten and whiten teeth and enhance facial features with cosmetic injectables. Both men and women start looking for dental treatment solutions that improve bite and chew function, such as implants and crowns and restorative dental treatments like porcelain veneers.
All it takes is a conversation with your dentist to discuss your options. Just don’t leave it too long.
Sorting 60’s, 70’s + beyond: getting things right for the remainder of life
By the time we hit our 60’s and 70’s, clinical practice shows us there is a need for replacement of teeth. People in this more mature age bracket may experience fracturing and splitting of teeth from amalgam fillings and nerves dying from deep, old fillings.
None of this is ideal. However maintaining regular oral hygiene visits when your dentist can monitor the progress of any emerging issues, and if necessary take remedial action, is a vital part of any oral health care program.
There’s no doubt, during the 60’s, 70’s and beyond, many of us ruefully wish we’d spent more time looking after our teeth during our younger years. If you’re not there yet, talk to your dentist about how you can take good care of the teeth you have.
Need an incentive to work towards good looking teeth?
As dental practitioners, increasingly we are seeing the 50-plus age bracket looking for ways to remedy issues that have been in the making for some time, but are in need of attention to ensure they enjoy quality of life, irrespective of their age.
If you’re looking for even more incentive to make the ‘teeth for life’ journey smoother, whatever stage you’re at, you need not look far.
The imperative for preventative care is even greater now, with ample research available indicating the clear connection between oral health and overall health. Diabetes, heart disease, and even brain health have been linked to the state of our oral health.
What does this mean for those interested who want good looking teeth and to keep them for life? The sooner we start taking those preventative measures – hygiene visits, regular brushing and flossing – the better off we’ll be.
The good news is, it’s never too late to start having a better relationship with your teeth.
This understanding is integral to the best approach to patient care. Make sure your dentist is working with you in this way to ensure you have the teeth you need and want, no matter what your age is and where you’re at in life.
To the team here at Dental as Anything, teeth are for life. We take time and care to educate our patient community their teeth are a vital signpost for health and wellbeing. And like any long term investment, they require care, work, and attention at every age and stage of life.
Dr Mark Miller has been caring for the local Helensvale and broader Gold Coast community for over thirty years. Together with the Dental as Anything team, he takes a preventive care approach to teeth and oral health. His philosophy is that teeth are for life. No matter where you are in life, we’ll help you understand how to achieve the very best in dental treatment and oral health outcomes. Ready to feel your best? Let’s book a time for you to chat with one of our team. Call 5573 0188 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.