As you enter adulthood, you become more responsible for your own health, whereas previously, your parents helped encourage healthy habits.
Young adulthood is a unique stage when it comes to health - and particularly dental health. At this age, most people do not yet suffer from serious dental ailments. However, the way you care for your teeth during these years will have a profound impact on your oral health as you continue to age.
Many young adults and 20-somethings do not care for their teeth as well as they could or should. Perhaps that is because they've fallen prey to some of these misconceptions about dental health in young adulthood.
1. It's Too Late to Correct Tooth Alignment Issues
If you did not have braces as a teen, you may figure that you missed your chance and are now stuck with misaligned teeth for life. This is not the case. Straightening your teeth as an adult may take a little longer and be less convenient, but you can have straight teeth. Properly aligned teeth are easier to keep clean, so they will be less prone to cavities as you age.
Thanks to the invention of clear aligners, straightening your teeth as an adult is easier than ever. These clear aligners are barely visible on your teeth, and you remove them to eat. Their impact on your lifestyle is very minor compared to that of traditional braces.
2. You Don't Need to See the Dentist If Your Teeth Feel Fine
Young adults often feel invincible and assume that nothing bad will ever happen to them. So if your teeth feel fine, you might assume that you don't have dental problems and that visiting the dentist is therefore pointless. This line of reasoning has two problems.
First, cavities and tooth decay don't cause noticeable symptoms until they're rather serious. During regular dental visits, your dentist can detect these issues in the early stages when they're easy to correct with a filling. If you wait until you're in pain or noticing other symptoms, you may require a root canal or crown.
Second, dental visits focus heavily on prevention. Professional cleaning removes tartar, a hardened form of plaque, from your teeth, helping to protect against gum disease and tooth decay. You can't remove tartar at home. Skip your dental appointments, and you may end up with pretty serious, widespread decay in a decade or two.
3. You Can Go to Bed Without Brushing Your Teeth
Young adults often lead very busy lifestyles. You may be juggling several jobs, a class or two, family obligations, and social activities. Sometimes, at the end of the day, you may fall asleep on the couch without brushing your teeth. But even if this is an occasional habit, it is a dangerous one.
As you eat throughout the day, sugary residues remain on your teeth, feeding the oral bacteria. The mixture of foodstuff, bacteria, and their waste products forms a slimy substance called plaque. If plaque sits on your teeth for too long, it turns into a calcified substance called tartar. As discussed above, tartar can lead to cavities and gum disease - and only a professional can remove it.
Each time you fall asleep without brushing your teeth, the plaque on your teeth hardens into tartar as you sleep. So don't make a habit of falling asleep without brushing. Try brushing earlier in the evening, before you even sit down to rest so you don't forget.
The way you care for your teeth as a young adult does matter. If you want to avoid cavities and keep your teeth into old age, then consider correcting misalignments, attend your regular dental checkups, and brush your teeth every night before bed. Contact Pierpan Dentistry to request an appointment if you're looking for a new dentist in the Hampstead or Jacksonville area.