Dental Tips for Teens
Most teens care about the appearance of their teeth, but they may not be taking the necessary steps to care for their pearly whites. Teens generally lead very busy and active lives—their hectic schedules and increasing independence often mean they aren’t spending as much time taking care of their oral health. At Prescott Dentistry, we want to stress the importance of dental health for your teens and how you can help them. Here are a few issues specific to teen dental health:
If your teen participates in sports, it is crucial that they protect their smile whether on the field or on the court. A mouthguard is the best way to avoid chipped or lost teeth and cut lips. If your teen has braces, it is especially important for them to wear a mouthguard or night guard because braces can cut and tear the soft tissues of the mouth if it gets hit by a ball or an elbow. And of course, if a tooth gets knocked out, this will result in costly repairs to any orthodontic devices.
Many teens consume a diet of mostly sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods. While they may not see an immediate impact on their overall health, their teeth will surely suffer. Sugars and carbohydrates create an ideal environment for dental plaque to thrive, which leads to cavities and gum disease.
As a parent, you try to encourage your teen to eat a balanced and nutrient-rich diet to promote good overall health and oral health. Help your teen limit their junk food consumption by providing healthy snacks, such as crunchy fruits and vegetables. At the very least, ensure that they increase the frequency of their brushing and chew xylitol gum after snacks and meals—this will promote saliva flow as well as get rid of food debris in the mouth. Just be sure to keep any xylitol products out of the reach of the family dog as they can be toxic to our pets!
Teens are also at risk of developing eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa. In addition to serious health effects, these eating disorders also have detrimental effects on dental health. If you suspect your teen is struggling with an eating disorder, be sure to seek professional help right away.
Studies have shown that a majority of long-term tobacco users begin tobacco use during their teenage years. It is important that you remind your teen about the negative health effects of smoking and tobacco use. It may be difficult to convince your teen to quit on the basis of health, but educating them about the negative cosmetic effects of smoking may be more effective—things like tooth and gum staining and bad breath.
4. Oral Hygiene Routine
Making and maintaining a dental care routine is an essential part of maintaining oral health at any age. But it is particularly important for teens, as they might tend to neglect their daily oral hygiene routines. Your teen should be brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
If your teen wears dental braces or other orthodontic devices, Ask us about special flossers to clean around wires and brackets. It is essential that they brush their teeth after every meal to prevent dental plaque and debris from getting caught in their braces, causing excess plaque to build up. If your teen has braces, encourage them to carry floss with them.
Regular dental visits are also a necessary aspect of good dental health that is often missed during the teen years. It is important to find time for regular dental visits and dental cleanings for your teen. This will ensure that any problems that arise are caught early on, preventing any serious dental issues down the road.
Give us a Call
If you have any questions or concerns regarding teen dental health, our team here at Prescott Dentistry is your best resource. Schedule an appointment today to speak with us about how to help your teens keep their teeth healthy and beautiful for years to come.