Childhood is an important time when it comes to physical and mental development. During this time, we establish the habits that will drive us throughout our lives. While habits can change, and you can start new ones, it’s more difficult to do so in our adult years. Even our physical development can have a lasting impact on our health as adults. Our primary teeth are one physical element that appears during our childhood. While many consider them merely a temporary presence, they have a lasting impact on our oral health as we move into adulthood.
The Importance Of Oral Health In Childhood And Beyond
Taking proper care of our primary teeth protects them from decay and ensures they remain around until they fall out naturally. The usual process of brushing twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash is the foundation of lifelong good oral hygiene habits. Together they provide significant protection against the onset of decay, especially when combined with a twice-yearly visit to your dentist. However, it’s still important to understand how to identify when tooth decay is starting to form. Doing so will ensure you can reach out to your dentist in time to prevent cavity formation and the advance of gum disease.
The first sign of tooth decay to watch for is the formation of white blemishes on the surface of the teeth. These white spot lesions are a clear indicator that the enamel of our teeth has become weakened. They form due to the demineralization of enamel, which leaves it softened and vulnerable to erosion and decay. Your dentist has several techniques that they can employ to halt this process in its tracks. These include the following:
- Fluoride Treatments – Fluoride is one way of restoring strength and durability to our enamel. While it cannot restore enamel that’s already been lost, it’s an effective preventative. It’s critical to ensure that you get enough fluoride before cavities form. Doing so provides meaningful protection against the formation of tooth decay.
- Dental Sealants – This form of protection is a relatively recent form of dental protection. Dental sealants work by forming a thin plastic barrier over the surface of your tooth. This seal ensures that acid, sugars, and bacteria cannot impact your teeth’ health. They are available for patients of all ages but are most often used in the very young and very old.
These protections can serve as both preventative and treatment. However, neither of them takes the place of consistent oral hygiene. Further, you should always maintain a twice-yearly set of dentist visits to ensure you get the best oral health protection available.
Other Signs Of Oral Health Concerns
Another important symptom of poor oral health is gums that are puffy, red, and bleed when brushed. These are some of the earliest signs of gum disease. Acting quickly can prevent the condition from worsening and turning into periodontitis. Consult your dentist for proper techniques for preventing and addressing gum disease and tooth decay.