Smiles are contagious.

When you meet a stranger, did you know that one of the first things they notice is your smile? It’s not a big surprise, considering one glance at a toddler’s toothy grin can initiate a matching one on your own face. But the same is true no matter the age! Smiles are contagious, and that’s exactly how we want it to be.

No matter the smile, it’s important to take care of it. Those gummy smiles of an infant, or the wide grin from their great-grandparents—they’re all beautiful and deserve to be taken care of as such. Though the dental routines may change slightly as a person ages, they all have the same goal in mind: maintaining that healthy smile.

From Gums to Giggles: Caring for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

When it comes to caring for those tiny smiles, it can sometimes be difficult. Those toddlers just don’t want to sit still for a single second, and the preschoolers just want to do it themselves. Don’t be afraid to get creative and adjust your routine however it is needed.

For the babies, make it a fun experience. Oral care actually starts from day one, not just from the first tooth. After they are done with a feeding session, wipe down their gums with a soft rag. This will not only help get rid of any pesky bacteria, but it will also help get them used to the process and sensations of taking care of those teeth. This will really come in handy when they are toddlers! When that first tooth emerges, it’s time to introduce them to a toothbrush! Now, don’t panic, your consistency will pay off!

Once they are bouncing off of those walls faster than you can keep up, see if you can get them to sit still long enough to brush their doll’s teeth while you work on theirs. If not, you can even try letting them brush after you are done! You could do a combination of both tactics as well, and even introduce a sticker chart—because who doesn’t love the thrill of stickers?

For the hyper-independent child, bring them in with you to practice your oral care routine as a family. This not only makes it more fun, it lets you keep an eye on how they’re doing. Remember that it’s a good idea to assist your little ones with brushing and flossing until they are about eight years old.

Navigating the Teen Terrain: Overcoming Oral Care Obstacles

Ideally, we hope our teens are masters at caring for their own bodies. But anyone who’s walked into a teenager’s room knows that sometimes, they’re a bit distracted by everything else going on in their life, and sometimes some key things are forgotten. This is certainly one of the reasons why more than half of teens between the ages of 12 and 19 have at least one cavity in their permanent teeth.

As with the little ones, you want to foster what independence you can while still keeping an eye on them. If you have smaller children at the same time, you can sneak a reward chart into the mix. Your teenager might be more likely to keep track of their oral hygiene if they think they’re doing it to help their younger siblings, and the little ones will have another incentive to brush their teeth! You know your kids best, so let your creativity out! Get them involved, and let them feel confident in their independence.

To say that teenagers are going through a lot of changes can be an understatement. Not only are their thoughts, feelings, and emotions all changing at alarming rates, but their oral health often undergoes a bit of a shift with orthodontics. This can make their oral care routine a little more difficult and even time-consuming. Be sure to listen to them every step of the way, and help in any way they might need you. Whether it’s taping fancy step-by-step instructions to their mirror, or letting them power through independently. But even for those independent teens, don’t forget to check in regularly and see if they require a little extra help.

Aging Gracefully: Adapting oral care with changing needs.

Sometimes it feels as though our bodies crack and pop a little more with every birthday. As time goes on, it becomes more and more of a chore to keep our bodies in working order. This includes our teeth.

As we age, the enamel on our teeth tends to wear down. This makes us more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, tooth sensitivity, and even tooth loss. It is thought that even one in five adults older than the age of 65 has lost all of their teeth. Though the statistics are depressing, remember that if any serious issues do occur, there are options out there to maintain your perfect smile.

To avoid potential issues, it is important to create good habits at a young age. But it truly is never too late to start! One of these vital habits is to keep those regular cleanings with your dentist. That way, the dentist can keep an eye out for any potential problems and advise you on any changes that you might need to make to your oral care routine, or even lifestyle.

The Adventure of Life

Throughout our lives, how we care for our bodies can change. Our joints creak more than they used to, and our teeth might just have increased sensitivity. Though there might be new hurdles to jump like braces or even cosmetic dentistry, it’s all part of the adventure called life.

Remember that our entire dental team here at Steven A. Lang, DDS, is here for you every step of the way, helping you be proactive in preventing dental issues throughout your life. If we all work together, we can help families enjoy the benefits of a lifetime of good oral health and happy smiles. Contact us today and schedule a visit.