Dental decay is not only among the most common oral health problems affecting children, but it is among the most common chronic childhood conditions in general. On the other end of the age spectrum, it’s estimated that almost one-third of seniors aged 65 and older have untreated dental caries. With so many multi-generational households, it’s important to turn to a pediatric dentist in Chicago who understands the unique needs of patients through every stage of life, and how dental care – early and often – influences lifelong oral and overall health.
The littlest patients
Ideally, the dentists at Big Smile Dental will see your child before his or her first birthday. Although temporary, your child’s baby teeth are important. They help adult teeth develop properly.
Tooth decay in young children is often referred to as baby bottle decay for good reason. A bottle with a sugary drink is often used as a pacifier to get baby to fall asleep. Baby should never be put to bed with milk or fruit juices that contain a surprisingly high amount of sugars. Sugars and naturally-occurring bacteria mix to create acids that eat away at the teeth.
Parents or other caregivers can even pass decay-producing bacteria on to babies through saliva. It’s important to resist the temptation to share a baby’s feeding spoon.
Preventive care like sealants protect teeth from decay, especially since foods can become trapped in their grooves and pits, offering a perfect breeding ground for decay-producing bacteria.
The experienced dental patient
Eventually, the pediatric patient will become the adult patient. New challenges to a beautiful, healthy smile can arise, which may not have been present in childhood. The dentists at Big Smile Dental become concerned about dry mouth among older patients, because saliva is a natural cleanser with antimicrobial benefits. Minerals in saliva also help to reverse the effects of tooth decay, building up damaged enamel. Seniors are at greater risk of developing dry mouth due to it being a side effect of medical conditions. It is also a side effect of more than 400 drugs used to manage chronic conditions.
It’s never too early to form good dental habits. Big Smile Dental is adept at treating patients of all ages. This feature is important, because you cannot apply the same diagnostic, preventive, and treatment approaches to mature patients as you might to pediatric patients. Your needs and characteristics at age 5 are strikingly different than at age 25. Call 773-772-8400 to schedule your child’s appointment.