515 Main Street, Olean, New York 14760
(716) 373-2600

Olean General Hospital

oral health


Oral Health For Children

The best way to prevent tooth and gum disease in children is to develop proper oral hygiene habits early in life. Even before infants start teething, parents should thoroughly clean an infant's gums after every meal. Use a water-soaked washcloth or gauze pad to stimulate the gum tissue and remove food. When the baby begins to get teeth, brush them gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny amount of fluoridated toothpaste.

Using a small amount of toothpaste will help to prevent decay. Fluoride is also found in mouth rinses, community water supplies, and in some foods.

By the age of two or three, parents can begin to teach children proper brushing techniques. Please note that parents will need to assist with flossing and brushing until the child is seven or eight and has developed the dexterity to do it alone.

Parents should also schedule regular oral health appointments starting around the child's first birthday. The dentists and hygienists at our Dental Center's will check for cavities in the primary teeth and watch for developmental problems, as well as help to create a positive experience that may alleviate fear at future visits.

Oral Health For Young Adults

Proper nutrition and good oral hygiene habits at home are especially important for teenagers. A proper diet, complemented with brushing and flossing play an important role in maintaining a healthy smile and preserving teeth through adulthood.

Cavities and periodontal disease can be a threat to teens as well as adults.

Teens should brush thoroughly after meals whenever possible and floss daily. It can be helpful to establish routines during busy schedules to avoid unnecessary snacking and to establish routines that help encourage regular flossing and brushing.

If you wear custom-made appliances, or braces, pay special attention to keeping spaces between the teeth and archwires clean by using floss threaders. Orthodontic toothbrushes are specially designed to make cleaning teeth and braces easier.

Oral Health For Adults

The hectic pace of today's adult lifestyle often leaves little time for the daily oral health care routine needed to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. This is unfortunate since periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. An estimated 75% of Americans reportedly have some form of periodontal disease.

Early detection of periodontal disease reduces the risk of permanent damage to teeth and gums and can prevent more extensive and costly treatment in later years. Regular professional visits, every six months or as scheduled, will help you learn more about proper care for your teeth and gums. Regular professional visits are important because gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease, is usually painless and you may not be able to detect it on your own.

Oral Health For Seniors

As a senior, whether you're caring for your original teeth or you have dentures, you'll face a range of special oral concerns, including root decay and periodontal disease. But a routine of proper oral care and making regular visits to your dentist can help catch problems before they become more serious or permanent.

The American Dental Hygientists Association suggests that if you have arthritis or limited use of your hands, try adapting the toothbrush for easy use. Insert the handle into a rubber ball or sponge hair curler; or glue the toothbrush handle into a bicycle grip. Toothbrush handles can be lengthened with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, ice cream bar stick or tongue depressor.

For people who have dexterity problems and cannot use a manual toothbrush, an electric toothbrush may be easier to use. Numerous studies confirm that electric brushes are excellent plaque removing devices and are extremely effective in stimulating gums. Dental floss holders are also available.

Among other benefits, daily brushing and flossing protect older smiles from two common problems of getting older: Root decay--a condition that affects older adults if a great amount of root surfaces are exposed--and tooth decay caused by the weakening or chipping of older fillings.

For more information

For more information on oral health, please visit the American Dental Hygienists' Association website.


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