There was a time about five decades ago when Americans enlisting in the military showed how poor people’s dental habits were. The mandatory dental checkup of these men and women made dentists realize that very few people knew how to take good care of their teeth. Dentists often provided solutions instead of prevention, as problems were already existent when people visited their offices.

Today, more people care about their dental health, compared to older generations. Dental services are more available, and dentists are more or less successful in campaigning for better dental care before any problems may set in.

Here’s how people should take care of their teeth starting from a very young age.

Dental care for babies

Primary teeth or baby teeth, as they are more often called, should already have professional dental care. Your baby may learn to chew and speak properly if their teeth are healthy. Between six and 12 months, your baby’s first set of teeth should erupt (come in). The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry agree that you should take your baby for a first dental visit within six months after the first tooth has erupted. The baby’s first dental visit should not be later than the first birthday.

Adolescent teeth straightening

Your child should learn early that visiting the dentist at least twice a year can protect their teeth from different problems like tooth decay. Apart from those visits, when your child is an adolescent with a complete set of teeth, taking them to the dentist for straightening techniques like braces is important. Many people with crooked teeth today wouldn’t have had any such problems if they had worn braces early. After the scheduled wearing of braces, which the dentist will adjust periodically until the teeth are straight, your child must also wear their Hawley retainer from an orthodontic lab for a set time to make sure the teeth do not go back to their crooked position again.

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Adult teeth care

As you get older, so do your teeth. In most cases, teeth show signs of age like discoloration and erosion of the enamel. Continuous dental care starting with a toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride twice a day, dental floss once a day, and twice yearly visits to the dentist can keep you away from many health problems that dental issues may bring about, including heart disease. For discoloration, you may ask your dentist about teeth whitening.

If you lose a tooth, don’t just leave it as is. Ask your dentist for a replacement, such as an implant. It is important that your “teeth” are “complete”, even if you do lose one or several to tooth decay.