From football games to prom to driver’s licenses, the life of a teenager is full of many things. Another aspect of a teenager’s life is their dental health. This may not seem obvious at first, but there are several oral health concerns specifically associated with teenagers.
Teens have busy lives and may not always have the time to brush and floss their teeth. However, they are increasing their risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. You can encourage your teen to brush and floss their teeth regularly by reminding them that it will help keep their smile white and their breath fresh. Also don’t forget your teen’s biannual dental check-ups so your dentist can keep an eye on their incoming wisdom teeth.
Teens tend to be snackers, consuming sugary and starchy treats along with sodas, energy drinks, juices, and sports drinks. But the sugars in these foods and beverages are terrible for teeth because plaque creates harmful acids from sugar. Encourage healthy habits in your teen by keeping healthy snacks and drinks in your fridge.
Some teens believe that orthodontia is the equivalent to social suicide, so remind your teen about how braces will improve their oral health and the appearance of their smile. You and your teen may want to consider less visible braces options if appearance is a concern. These options include lingual braces (which go on the back of teeth), clear aligners, or braces that match tooth color.
Some teens are encouraged by their peers to experiment with drugs like tobacco. Drugs can not only create serious harm for the health of their body, but for the health of their mouth as well. Tobacco can stain teeth, create bad breath, dull the sense of taste, and increase the risk for decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Educate your teen about the harms of drug use and encourage them to be open with you.
Teens are trying to discover their identity, and as such they may try new fashions and fads. Oral piercings are one such fad which can cause problems such as broken teeth, swelling, infection, etc. If your teen is considering getting an oral piercing, have your dentist speak with them beforehand about how this fashion statement can actually be very harmful for their oral health.