Oral Hygiene Through The Ages

With recent research linking gum disease with other serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes, it is crucial that we do all we can to reduce the risk of developing these conditions.

The key to this is to develop good brushing and flossing habits at an early age.  Good oral hygiene begins in infancy, before teeth even appear, and requires daily attention through our lifetime.

Childhood iStock 000010294448XSmall

Oral hygiene should start in our early childhood but when should children first go to the dentist?  It is best to discuss this with your dentist first but many people take their babies and toddlers along to their own routine check-up.  This allows the child to get used to the surroundings and noises within the dental surgery and will help them relax and not be afraid of this environment.
As a rule, children cannot be expected to brush their own teeth properly until they have developed the fine motor control needed, normally around the age of 8. 

Adolescencegirl in dental chair2

On entering adolescence, the risk of dental decay and gum disease increases.  This is because brushing and flossing is undertaken unaided and adolescents are not always as careful or vigilant as they should be.  They may also consume large amounts of sugary beverages that feed destructive oral bacteria.
Wisdom teeth can also become a problem in teen years.  They would normally be removed because there simply isn’t enough space to accommodate them.  The earlier the better, as removal is easier before the roots have formed and when the bone is more pliable.

Young AdulthoodGum Disease

Dental decay can often be a problem during young adulthood.  Because a decaying tooth may not start to hurt until the nerve has been damaged, it is important to see a dentist regularly in order that early action can be taken to avoid lengthy, expensive treatments and the possibility of losing a tooth.
It’s at this age that many people switch from a manual to an electric toothbrush.  If you are using the right brushing technique, a manual toothbrush will do just as good a job as an electric toothbrush.  It is, however, recognised that people have a tendency to brush for longer with an electric toothbrush.


During our 40s, teeth start to show their age.  Fillings start to break down and because they’ve been filled to 40scapacity, more root canal work and crowns are undertaken.  Gum disease is the biggest problem for this age group.  Because of the link to other serious health problems, care is needed to ensure our gums are kept in tip-top condition.
Oral cancer also becomes a concern at this stage, particularly for smokers.  If you have a sore in your mouth that does not heal within two weeks, you should seek advice from your dentist.

Senior Years

In our senior years, we may be taking medication for a range of ailments.  Unfortunately, a common side effect of many druolder ladygs is dry mouth.  Saliva is a natural tooth protector, so having less of it increases the risk of cavities.  Many people will suck on sweets to combat dry mouth and stimulate saliva production.  However, the sugar then feeds bacteria in your mouth and can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.  A preferred solution would be to chew gum or suck on sugar-free sweets.
If in later life you find it difficult to clean your teeth with a manual toothbrush, try an electric one instead. 
Avoiding tooth loss is vitally important in this stage of life as it can affect self-esteem and make it difficult to eat which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.  Also, if good oral hygiene is not maintained, bacteria may enter the bloodstream which increases the risk of heart disease, lung infections, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Top Tips for Maintaining Healthy Teeth and Gums ­ Whatever Age You Are

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for around two minutes. It is too easy to overlook this when you are tired and it is late. If you are at home for the evening, get ready for bed before you start feeling tired. That way, you brush your teeth and floss when you are more alert and it is less of a chore. Just don’t eat or drink anything afterwards.
  • Floss every day, as this reaches areas that a toothbrush might miss. Get into the habit, it does not take long at all.
  • Visit your dentist or hygienist on a regular basis, as this will ensure that signs of gum disease are spotted and treated as soon as possible.  Not been to your dentist/hygienist for a while? Pick up the phone and make that all important appointment.
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly (every three or four months or as soon as the bristles look worn). Add this to your next shopping list or buy it online.
  • Avoid starchy, sugary foods and drinks, as these make the problem worse. Think about what you eat and its effect on your health.
  • Eat plenty of fresh foods and vegetables and avoid snacking between meals. If you are hungry between meals, snack on something healthy like fresh fruit, particularly apples or raw vegetables such as carrots.  Not only are they good for you but the action of chewing will stimulate saliva flow which reduces the build-up of bacteria.
  • Exercise regularly.  Recent research suggests that you are 40% less likely to develop gum disease if you maintain a normal body weight and stay fit and healthy. 
Copyright © Pierre Fabre

Eludril Mouthwash & Elgydium Toothpaste are manufactured by Pierre Fabre Oral Care & distributed by Pierre Fabre Limited.

  Eludril Mouthwash contains chlorhexidine.  Always read the label. 
Adverse events should also be reported to Pierre Fabre Ltd. Tel: 0208 731 3322
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