Many changes will occur in your mouth over your life span. Certain conditions arise over time, which are unique to a particular stage of life.
Lifetime dental care, or the life course approach, is about recognizing the importance of life stages and how each relates to the other in terms of your oral health. Special attention can be recommended at specific times, to maintain oral health and reduce oral disease risk to ensure teeth last your whole life. By optimising dental health at earlier stages of life, oral health can be better and easier to maintain during subsequent stages of life. Maintaining oral health is also essential to general health and wellbeing, through out the life cycle.
Preventive dental care may commence at any point in time, but will be of the greatest benefit when initiated early. Prevention can begin during prenatal development and infancy. Delaying the onset of dental decay in childhood, for as long as possible will reduce the cycles of future fillings, preserving tooth structure and tooth strength into later life. Preventing and identifying gum problems early, will also help preserve tooth support and reduce the likelihood of tooth loss.
Growth And Oral Health
Dental experiences during critical periods of growth and development can shape future oral health. Tooth development is unique to particular ages and can impact one’s appearance, smile and function. Orthodontic treatment can improve tooth alignment to make dental hygiene easier and protect teeth from destructive wear. Development of the face and airway may be influenced with orthodontics to optimise breathing function and reduce future risks of sleep apnea. The timing of orthodontics is important.
Hormones, Habits, Activities And Oral Health
Theories in behavioural science suggest the techniques and behaviours an individual learns in childhood tend to be carried forward into adult life. Skills, habits, attitudes and values about dental hygiene and diet may also be more easily acquired in childhood and adolescence than at later ages. Late adolescence to early adulthood, a key life transition toward independence, requires support to ensure self care routines and regular dental visits continue.
Other factors may operate across the life span. Hormonal influences with puberty, menstruation, oral contraception, fertility treatments, pregnancy, lactation and menopause contribute specific challenges that may make dental problems more likely. There are times in life when recreational activities increase tooth decay or trauma risks and protective measures may be required. Social and lifestyle habits in adulthood can impact the care and health of the mouth.
Oral Health Problems
Oral diseases and functional problems may become more likely as time passes and the consistency of self-care routines fluctuate with life events and stresses. The cumulative effects of a lifetime of oral disorders and habits can impact how tissues survive, look and function into senior years and as tissue structure changes with age, influencing rates of decline. The oral - general health connection adds another dimension to the importance of oral health. At specific times, extra care may be needed to support wellness and healthy aging.
Lifetime Dental Care
Maintaining oral health is a life process. Our practice recognizes the importance of life stage issues and the impacts that time, disease and circumstance have on your mouth during the life course. We tailor treatment and preventive support for changing dental needs throughout the life cycle. Together, we can help you achieve and maintain a healthy mouth, healthy body and healthy life.