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Recognize the importance of oral health throughout your life

Protect your mouth this World Oral Health Day

Consistent oral care and wellness habits are important during every stage of your life. So important, in fact, that World Oral Health Day is recognized internationally every March 20.

This holiday is the largest global awareness campaign on oral health and is meant to spread positive messages about the importance of good oral hygiene around the world.

Check out these ways you can honor the oral and overall health connection at any age.

Children's oral health

If you’re not thinking about oral care in your child’s life, think again. Positive habits start early, and this rings especially true about caring for teeth and gums during formative years. Here are some tips for setting up your child for a lifetime of healthy smiles:

  • Take your child to the dentist. Did you know that children should visit the dentist before their first birthday? A child’s first trip to the dentist should happen within six months after his or her first tooth erupts, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
  • Brush your baby’s teeth and gums. Caring for your baby’s oral health starts with the gums, according to the American Dental Association. You can start by wiping gums with a wet washcloth or moistened gauze, and switch to a baby toothbrush once your child's teeth have completely erupted.
  • Stop cavities before they begin. Children are prone to cavities, not only because of the natural shape of their growing teeth, but because of their eating habits. Constant snacking means that brushing alone may not be doing an adequate job of preventing cavities. Talk to your child's dentist about sealants and whether they may be the right option for your child.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of pacifiers. Although they can provide a source of comfort, pacifiers can potentially harm your child's teeth and gums.

Adult oral health

Learning the ins and outs of “adulting” is a different process for everyone, but the health of your pearly whites is essential. This World Oral Health Day, tune in to tips that’ll keep you smiling in your 20s, 30s and for years to come.

  • Don’t trust quick fixes. You’re used to getting things done quickly. However, teeth whitening is one process that shouldn’t be rushed for convenience. Many DIY whitening methods involve the use of unsafe chemicals, unorthodox materials or are just plain dangerous. Be wary of things that seem too good to be true when it comes to your precious smile.
  • Be proactive during pregnancy. Growing your family is an exciting time — and it’s an opportune time to check in with your dentist. Aside from coming up with an oral health plan for your pregnancy, your dentist can help you navigate being at higher risk for tooth decay, gum disease (also known as pregnancy gingivitis) and oral growths (called pregnancy tumors).
  • Make enough time for your oral care routine. Between work, family, passion projects and social lives, many adults are pulled in a multitude of directions. Don’t let your busy life cause you to neglect your oral care routine! Make sure that you’re brushing for at least two full minutes, twice per day.

Senior oral health

Your golden years deserve to be full of memorable experiences, not overdue trips to the dentist. Use these pointers to ensure that your oral care routine ages as gracefully as you do:

  • Pay attention to your overall health. There are major connections between oral wellness and prevalent diseases. Your dentist can often spot the first warning signs of health issues that affect your entire body. Issues like leukemia, heart disease and diabetes can all have oral manifestations.
  • Listen to your body. Staying mindful of any aches, pains or discomfort that you feel — and then alerting the appropriate health professional — can save you from financial and physical distress down the line.
  • Keep your gums in tip-top shape. Knowing the warning signs of gum disease means that you can potentially avoid the major cause of about 70% of adult tooth loss. The right preventive measures, like healthy eating and staying smoke-free, can ensure that your smile’s next years are its best years.

Last updated January 7, 2022

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.