The Life of a Tooth
Your teeth go through different stages as your body grows and changes. It’s important to recognize the changes in your teeth as you grow older so you can know exactly how to care for them in each individual stage. While it’s sometimes easy to remember that your teeth need different care at different stages, it’s essential that you learn how to care for them in the best way possible. Let’s take a look at the life of your teeth. First Year The first year of your life is a big time for the life of your teeth, as well. Even though you can’t see them, all of the baby teeth have already been formed, and they’re just waiting to break through the gums. At around two to three months of age, the first tooth should erupt, followed by several more. Special Considerations: The eruption of the first teeth in a baby’s mouth is a big event. Teething can be frustrating and stressful for both the baby and the parent. Don’t worry if the process seems excruciating at times. Once the child’s first tooth has broken through, he or she should visit the dentist for the first appointment. At that point, begin brushing the teeth that have broken through with a soft toothbrush. Remember that even though baby teeth are only temporary, they still need to be taken care of accordingly. Not only are baby teeth used for chewing, they are placeholders for the adult teeth. If baby teeth are lost prematurely, it can cause a lot of issues as the adult teeth start to come in. So, remember to brush them and avoid too much candy or other sugary foods. Childhood, Preteen, and Teenage Years In the childhood years, all of the baby teeth should be present, and the permanent molars should start erupting. However, in the ages between six and eight, the permanent teeth should all start putting pressure on the baby teeth, causing them to fall out. Then, the permanent tooth can take about six months to come in. Around age 12, the second set of permanent molars should start coming in. During the teenage years, the teeth are still growing with the mouth and jawbone. This continual growth may cause some teeth to grow crooked or out of line. Special Considerations: During these years, it’s especially important to start on a regular routine of seeing the dentist every six months. This way, the adult teeth can stay healthy as they come in. This is also a prevalent time for cavities in both the baby teeth and the adult teeth. As the child gets older, he or she will start brushing independently, but the parent may still want to supervise the process. You may also see the dentist recommend a trip to the orthodontist, as the adult teeth can grow in crooked. If that’s the case, braces might be needed. Teenagers during this time might start considering oral piercings, which is generally to be avoided, as it can cause issues with infection and growth. This is also the time that wisdom teeth start erupting. Typically, there is no room for the wisdom teeth in the mouth, which means that they’ll have to be extracted, especially if they’re causing problems with the other teeth. Adult Years and Later Life As you get into your adult life, your teeth have likely found their permanent place in your mouth, although some shifting can still occur, especially if you have had braces. In the later years of your life, you may start to lose teeth and experience more decay. Special Considerations: Cavities around existing fillings start to become more common in your adult years, mainly because you start to control your own diet, which often contains more sugary food or drink. You may also start to see the signs of periodontal disease or oral cancer. This time is especially important for you to see your dentist on a regular basis, so you avoid serious health complications. As you grow older, your teeth may start to fall out more, which means you might have to get dentures or dental implants. All of these things are normal stages in the life of your tooth. Consistency is Key No matter where you find yourself in the various stages of life of your teeth, it’s important to stay consistent with oral hygiene and regular dental checkups. Your dentist can help you through each of these stages, maintaining strong and healthy teeth. Stay consistent, and your teeth should stay strong throughout their entire life.