In honour of what is now our 60th blog about dental care we thought we might capitalize on the theme of “sixes” and talk about tooth care at every age, whether you’re 6 months, 6 years or 60 years young! The theme of six might resonate for those that live close to Brinkley Dental (in Brampton) which in turn is close to “The Six” (in Toronto!) Perhaps we’ll even throw in a little talk about Drake. For now though, back to teeth. Are there differences in how you care for your teeth through the ages? The short answer is yes. The overarching theme of dental care of course remains the same but there are subtle differences that take place as we age. So, without further ado – dental care “by the 6’s in the Six!”
At 6 months of age it’s entirely possible your child has no visible teeth at all. They might be starting to show signs of teething however and at this point, a good quality latex free, cooling and soothing teething toy might be just the ticket to help your child through the pain. As well, this is a good time to remind parents that excessive use of the bottle (whether filled with milk or juice) can lead to future problems with tooth development. As well, by the time your child is 16 months of age and has some teeth, too much juice or using a bottle filled with milk as a soother at night can definitely lead to possible tooth decay.
At 16 months you should begin spending time familiarizing your child with the concept of tooth brushing in one of several ways: The “rag and wipe” method is where a parent employs a facecloth, small piece of gauze or muslin and wraps it around the finger with the tiniest dab of child-friendly, age appropriate toothpaste gently rubbing the child’s teeth in a circular motion. Encourage spitting vs. swallowing and allow some water to be swished around upon completion. Or, alternatively, you can purchase tiny toothbrushes with the softest nylon tip and either brush for your child or start by encouraging them to get familiar with the toothbrush while you still employ the “rag and wipe” method.
By the time your child reaches age 6 they should be brushing teeth on their own for about two (2) minutes duration. Fun techniques like employing an egg timer, letting your child choose their toothbrush and perhaps even small rewards for good brushing (like an extra book at bedtime) will all help encourage good dental care routines to be established. It’s still important at this age to be sure a parent is present when tooth brushing takes place so that if occasional reminders around technique are necessary, you’re right there to ensure that happens.
When you reach 60 years of age we assume you’ve got the techniques of tooth brushing down to a fine art! However, what might you expect to see at this age in terms of tooth care? For some, you might have a combination of both your own teeth and some dentures. You may also have had extensive dental work done and have bridgework or other special tooth considerations. If this is the case for you it’s more imperative than ever that you take proper care of your teeth. You should still be brushing and rinsing the roof of your mouth, tongue and your teeth, both real and false. Dentures should be brushed just like your own teeth and may in fact also require extra cleaning/rinsing or even soaking overnight. A regular toothbrush and regular toothpaste are fine to use for most people. At this age, non-abrasive toothpaste is best and a soft toothbrush is appropriate. It’s also important, even as we age, to continue to schedule regular appointments with your Dentist and hygienist.
There you have it – tooth care throughout the ages. We might not have actually said too much about Drake after all but if you are planning a fun night out in “the six” you’ll want your teeth looking their best. Schedule an appointment with the Brinkley Dental Team in Brampton, before you head downtown and remember, as always, ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”