Lincoln Square (773) 654-3575 2328 W Foster Ave., Chicago, IL 60625

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Your Healthy Smile Can Last a Lifetime

Most of us come into this world toothless, with our first baby teeth erupting from the gums around the age of six months or so. We get roughly 20 of these baby teeth followed by 32 permanent teeth, which begin appearing around the age of six.

If they’re properly cared for, these permanent teeth will have erupted through our gums during our grammar school and middle school years and can last us for an entire lifetime.

The key to your permanent teeth’s longevity is, of course, a good oral hygiene routine and regular check-ups. We want our teeth to stay with us throughout our lifetime. For that to happen, you should check in with a dentist at least twice a year for a thorough professional cleaning and examination. During this time, any any corrective dental work can also be conducted to ensure you keep your full, healthy and radiant smile.

A grandfather and grandson lie on a lawn, smiling as they embrace each other.

Not just for adults

It’s also essential to remember that regular dental care is not only for adults, but also for children, adolescents, and teens as well. Unfortunately, one in four children will have cavities by age four. Some might even develop them as early as age two.

To ward off those cavities and promote a lifetime of dental health, parents should begin brushing their children’s teeth for them as soon as the first baby tooth appears. This process should continue until children are able to do it themselves.

Once your child begins brushing their own teeth, they should be instructed to brush for at least two minutes, twice per day.

When it comes to scheduling dental visits, your child should have their first dental appointment around the time of their first birthday. Following this initial appointment, routine visits should be scheduled at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and dental exam.

Threats to our dental health

Whatever our age, from toddlers to seniors in their golden years, we’re constantly faced by things that are a threat to our overall dental health.

For example, some of our daily diets are loaded with an abundance of sugar and starches. These, in turn, encourage the growth of bacteria in our mouths that can lead to the formation of plaque.

Plague is a sticky film that adheres to teeth and gums. Left untreated, plaque can lead to gingivitis or a more serious condition known as periodontal disease or gum disease.

One of the major effects of gum disease is that it can work its way downward into the bones supporting your teeth and potentially lead to the loss of teeth. An early sign of gum disease that should never be ignored is bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. If your gums are red, swollen, or tender, that indicates a more serious problem that may lead to the loss of even healthy teeth.

Unfortunately, the possibility of losing teeth is not the only threat posed by gum disease. While many are not aware of it, something of a symbiotic relationship exists between your teeth and gums and other parts of your body. In other words, a problem in one area can contribute to or further complicate health issues in the other area.

For example, diabetes can make gum disease worse, and gum disease can complicate the treatment of diabetes. Also, while the scientific evidence is not entirely conclusive, some researchers are convinced there is a link between oral health and heart disease, strokes and heart attacks.

While that link has not yet been clearly established, it is certainly better to err on the side of caution by taking care of your oral health.

The road to good dental health

Fortunately, a few basic, good practices can contribute to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily for at least 2 to 3 minutes, preferably after breakfast and before going to bed.
  • Floss at least once a day to remove food particules between your teeth and gums.
  • Have a professional cleaning and exam twice a year.

If you need orthodontic care to correct an overbite, underbite, or teeth growing in various directions, it’s vital for you to diligently follow the steps listed above. Oral hygiene during an orthodontic treatment involving braces, clear alligers or other functional appliances is a must, if you wish to maintain a healthy smile long term.

Exercise for healthy teeth and gums

In addition to these commonly recommended steps, it may surprise you to know that regular exercise can also help you enjoy a lifetime of oral health. A recent study published in the Journal of Dentistry concluded that individuals who had never smoked and worked out regularly were 54 percent less likely to develop gum disease than their compatriots who do not exercise regularly.

Furthermore, former smokers who increased their physical activity reduced their risk of gum disease by 75 percent.

Your Dentist in Lincoln Square

At Cornerstone Dental of Lincoln Square we want to be your partner in promoting your lifelong dental health. We provide a full range of dental services, including general dentistry, cosmetic and restorative dentistry, and Invisalign, the latest technique in straightening teeth.

For complete dental care and a lifetime of smiles, from childhood through those golden years of retirement, we’re here for you, and we urge you to contact Cornerstone Dental of Lincoln Square to schedule your next appointment.

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