While the generational gap might seem to widen every year, there’s one important thing everyone has in common — or, to be more exact, 32 things we all have in common: teeth.
Whether you’re 24 or 44, everybody wants a healthy, white smile. But, it’s important to know, how you go about caring for your pearly whites will change over time. How can you best care for your teeth given your age group? Why does age matter when it comes to oral health?
In your 20s
Freedom from parental control might feel liberating at first, but 20-year-olds new to adult life will soon find out that maintaining a clean bill of dental health is more difficult without mom and dad’s pocketbook.
For example, many twenty-somethings are likely introducing their teeth to a particular oral health antagonist: alcohol.
Studies show that alcohol has can have various adverse effects on teeth:
- Staining — Beverage color is proven to discolor teeth. Red wines and spirits mixed with sodas are particularly aggravating to enamel.
- Dry mouth — Alcohol has a tendency to dry out mouths. Saliva is important for removing plaque, and alcohol consumption can remove this important protection.
- Tooth damage — Although alcohol doesn’t have any direct affect on tooth damage, some people chew on ice if it's present in their beverage. Chewing on ice is a common cause of tooth damage.
Another dental challenge specific to this age group is uncertain employment. Whether still in college or new to the job market, a lack of dental coverage is a classic deterrent of preventative care. While dentist visits might not rank as a top concern for unemployed 20-year-olds, preventative care needs to be a priority.
The American Dental Association says regular dentist visits are correlated with better tooth and gum health. Without professional dental care, individuals take on greater risk of periodontal disease and tooth loss.
In your 30s
"Freedom from parental control might feel liberating at first, but 20-year-olds new to adult life will soon find out that maintaining a clean bill of dental health is more difficult without mom and dad’s pocketbook."
The frequency of life changes you experience in your 20s is rivaled only by the many evolutions you may face during your 30s.
For one, people in their 30s have a whole new set of teeth to worry about.
Many people have children in their mid-twenties or early-thirties (this age is steadily rising), so a primary concern for this age group may not even involve their mouth, but it does affect their bank account. Finding affordable dental coverage for the whole family is no small task, and this major expense increases exponentially with the arrival of each new child.
As for you personally, any issues you experienced in your younger years will begin to compound. The skipped dentist visits, lapses in brushing, and flossing infrequency all add up as we age. Not to mention, a decade plus of certain stressor such as career growth and change can culminate in nighttime teeth grinding which leads to sensitivity and tooth damage.
In your 40s
You’re in your 40s — you may think you’ve seen it all, right? Well, not exactly. As you age, you are exposed to a whole new set of dental concerns that must be addressed.
People in the 40- to 65-year-old demographic are particularly at risk of tooth loss. The prevailing cause: gum disease.
The threat of gum disease mounts as people age. Whether due to bad dental habits in their younger years, poor circulation, or existing health conditions that exacerbate periodontal issues (such as diabetes), 40-year-olds can expect gum health to become a primary dental concern.
Here’s a simple golden rule for all ages: practice daily dental hygiene and invest in preventative care. Dental issues culminate over time, so it’s important to stay attentive to your teeth for your whole life.
Does the prospect of a lifetime expense make you cringe? See how much you can save on dental care with the help of a discount dental card. One subscription includes your entire household — that way everyone, no matter their age, will have something to smile about.