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TEETH ARE MEANT TO LAST A LIFETIME

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By John Hackbarth, DDS
Of the three basic problems one can have with their
teeth, two are infections. The third is the way the teeth
fit and work together.Today, I am going to discuss the
infections.
Decay eats up and destroys teeth. Gum disease
infects the gum tissues and can eat up the bone surrounding
the teeth. Both decay and gum disease can
spread infection all over the body.
If food debris is allowed to stay on the teeth for
days, then bacteria can flourish and destroy both the
teeth, gums and bone. These disease processes are
slow and progressive. They are non-painful until it is
too late.
Whether you are 6 months old or 90 years old,
clean teeth and gums do not rot.
Starting with infants, a baby should have their
mouth swabbed with a damp towel after they eat.
This will start creating the lifelong habit of cleaning
their mouth. As the teeth come in, the parents should
go from the towel to a child toothbrush and have them
brush their teeth after each meal. Toothpaste is not
necessary.
Toothpaste is only good for the flavor and for making
brushing more pleasant. The key is to get all the
food particles and residual bacteria off the teeth and
gums.
Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday.
Parents should bring them so they can begin to
feel comfortable in the dental office environment and
have a positive experience.
Too often, parents wait until the child has a toothache
before they take them to the dentist. This usually
involves treatment and shots, so the dentist can
treat the cause of the pain. It is often a very traumatic
first experience for a child and can set up a lifelong
fear of going to the dentist (I’m sure many of you can
relate).
There are studies that show the children of dentists
have very few to zero cavities during their lifetime.
This is not because the child has access to dental
care, but because the parents are adamant about
their children keeping their teeth clean at home. This
is something every parent can do.
The transition from baby teeth to adult teeth starts
around 6 years old and lasts to around 12 years old.
If the teeth are kept perfectly clean, then there will
be no decay. Of course, there are always exceptions.
The more dental work you have, the harder it is to
keep your teeth clean. Natural teeth are the easiest
to clean, but that can be more difficult if the teeth are
crooked or crowded. Your hygienist should be your
hygiene coach for the needs for your specific conditions.
Our office loves seeing children in hygiene, so that
we can do thorough evaluations not only for disease
but also for proper growth of the jaws. If we find problems
that require the care of a specialist, we will refer
them to the proper doctors.
Dr. John Hackbarth, DDS has been in dentistry
since receiving his DDS degree at the University of
Texas in 1976. He has several dental centers in the
Galveston County area, including the Dental Cosmetic
Center-Bay Area in Texas City.

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