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The lifecycle of your teeth

Saying your teeth will be with you for a lifetime can mean exactly that. Not only do your teeth begin formation six weeks after conception, they’re built to be with you until you die, with proper care.

Before those first few teeth pop out of a baby’s pink gums, an irritable process for both babies and parents, is teething which begins two or three months after birth. Babies experience sore and swollen gums, and the pressure of teeth pushing through their gums may cause irritability. One thing parents can do to help their baby’s oral hygiene by using a soft wet cloth or infant toothbrush to clean the baby’s gums to prevent any buildup of bacteria.

Primary teeth, commonly known as baby teeth, come in anywhere from six months to a year. These teeth are important because they help guide the placement for the child’s adult teeth. Premature loss or no primary teeth may result in a problem later on and should be addressed by a doctor. Don’t be alarmed if your child’s teeth have rough edges or are a bright shade of white or darker yellow. This will change as they age, spiky teeth will smooth out and teeth color will mellow. The coloring of one’s teeth is genetic, so if you have pearly whites, with care, so will they.

When your baby’s teeth appear, brush them with a soft brush twice a day. Toothpaste with fluoride should not be used until age two or three, depending on the advice given by your dentist. Children should start seeing a dentist around age three. At age four or five your dentist will recommend that your child receive X-rays. It is important for children to see a dentist to make sure their mouth and teeth are healthy and forming properly. X-rays are important to discover the abnormalities of teeth and bones. This is especially crucial for young children, to track their oral needs.

Children begin to lose their baby teeth around age six to eight. The development of adult teeth puts pressure on the roots of baby teeth, causing them to become loose and fall out. Many months of losing teeth while adult teeth come in result in lots of toothless smiles.

Molars come in first at age six, and next at age 12. The third set of molars, called wisdom teeth are often extracted because as humans have evolved, there is no need for wisdom teeth. The mouth has shrunk, but the teeth continue to come in. Wisdom teeth are taken out anywhere from teenage years through adulthood to prevent the shifting of necessary and useful teeth.

As people age, cavities are more prone to happen. Chewing wears down enamel and receding gums make teeth more susceptible to cavities. As well, daily plaque that builds up and is not removed by a professional every year can cause very serious tooth problems. Older people often produce less salvia, which helps wash away bacteria in the mouth. With less salvia, bacteria formation is more likely and can cause tooth decay. Brittle teeth in older adults is especially more common due to medications people have been on over a long period of time. These medications may result in bone loss, tooth sensitivity and enamel reduction. Continuing to care for aging teeth is especially important for these reasons.

Women going through menopause may experience loss of taste or taste alterations and an increased risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Good dental care is important for adults and children. Being aware of changes happening in your mouth, seeing your dentist regularly and securing dental insurance are important to your overall well being.

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