Why young adults need ongoing dental care
People of every age have certain dental needs and each group requires some unique dental care. The nature of the oral cavity changes over the years. For young adults between the ages of 19 to 24, who has just left home to live on their own, or are in a college dorm or military barracks, you should know that if your teeth are going to stay healthy, you need to be aware of those changes and the dental care needed to meet them.
Developing Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Failing to take care of your teeth properly can ruin your smile quickly. Not only will it lead to cavities, but it will also lead to gum disease – which can be costly to repair. A lack of good oral hygiene is the main cause of the development of gum disease. You can help prevent dental problems by developing a habit of brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing – preferably before you go to sleep.
After you eat sweets or anything with sugar or acid in it, you should rinse your mouth out with water afterward. Avoid brushing your teeth after consuming these foods for at least 20 minutes because the acid softens your enamel and brushing them too soon can cause tiny pieces of enamel to break off.
Cavities are caused by the acid that is naturally found in your mouth. While still small, getting a cavity filled is a simple task – and inexpensive. If not treated, it will lead to a sensitive tooth, and then it may require a dental crown or you may need a tooth extraction. If it is extracted, it will require a dental implant and a dental crown, or a dental bridge, replace it – very expensive.
You have several choices of materials when you get dental fillings. White fillings are very popular today because they help your teeth to look healthy and no one will know you needed one. They will last between five to seven years. Amalgam fillings are cheaper but they will last a long time.
You can expect your wisdom teeth to come in between the ages of 17 and 25. They may or may not be a problem, but having a dentist check your wisdom teeth and their position is a good idea. An x-ray will need to be taken and the dentist will be able to tell if they can be left alone or if one or more should be removed. Wisdom teeth can come in sideways, be impacted (buried in bone), and cause other problems such as developing an infection or gum disease. It is best, and safer, to have a wisdom tooth extraction before age 25 because it becomes more complicated as you get older.
Gum disease is a problem that starts small but can quickly become a very big and expensive dental problem. The first symptoms of gum disease are gums that are inflamed and bleed when you brush or floss them. With regular daily brushing and flossing, you can eliminate it at this stage.
If your oral hygiene does not improve, it will become periodontitis – a much more serious problem. Gum disease is caused by bacteria in your mouth that get out of control. It gets into your gums through the tartar (hardened plaque) on your teeth. The acid irritates the gums and starts an immune reaction that will not stop until treated by a dentist.
The symptoms of periodontitis include receding gums, spaces developing between your teeth, pus at the gum line, pain when you bite, loose teeth, and your teeth may even fall out. These symptoms occur because your immune system attacks your gums, the support structures for your teeth, and the jawbone.
Eating for Healthy Teeth
It can be easy to live off of fast food between these ages. If you are in college, you naturally want something easy to fix or obtain because time is always an issue. The problem with this is that your teeth need healthy foods to be able to fight off gum disease and cavities.
Several types of food will ruin your teeth quickly. If you eat a lot of foods that are high in sugar, it will promote the growth of the bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities and gum disease. Since the bacteria feed on sugar, drinking sodas and specialized coffees all day will quickly make the matter worse.
In addition to sugar, sodas and fruit juices also contain acid. Along with the acid from the bacteria, it will erode the enamel faster and cause cavities sooner. The acid also demineralizes some of the minerals out of the enamel. Eating a healthy diet helps to remineralize your teeth with the needed minerals and keeps them strong. If you have spots on your teeth that are chalky white, your teeth are demineralizing faster than they are remineralizing. which means tooth decay has started.
Lighting up that cigarette is going to do more than stain your teeth. Nicotine also reduces the flow of blood in your gums, which also reduces the effectiveness of your gum’s immune system to fight off gum disease and oral cancer. Many people who smoke or use tobacco products have gum disease and they have it worse than people who do not smoke.
Alcohol will also hurt your teeth. Red wine will stain them, and alcohol, in general, will dry out your mouth. Your saliva will normally help to reduce the acid and bacteria on your teeth, but a dry mouth enables more bacteria and acid to develop above normal levels in your mouth.
When young women are going through their period or are pregnant, there are changes taking place in the hormone levels that will affect their teeth and gums. You may develop gum disease during these occasions and dental visits are recommended (especially when pregnant) to keep it under control.