Rampant changes during teen years increases need for dental care
The teen years present special challenges as hormonal changes, growing bodies and emotional issues take center stage. Practicing good dental hygiene may be the last thing on a teenager’s mind, but for parents, it’s a major concern.
Starting youngsters on a solid dental care routine when they are young is the key to maintaining good oral health as they get older, say dentistry experts. So it should come as no surprise that their advice is to step up the tooth brushing and flossing daily to prevent tooth decay that could lead to loss of teeth later in life.
Instead of popping open a can of soda or energy drink, stick with water. It’s the best beverage for hydrating the body and cleaning the teeth between meals and brushings. If plain water is a turn-off, try flavored waters with no added sugar.
In addition to the difficulty of cleaning around them, braces can lead to more canker sores. Although they dissipate on their own, keeping up dental care and staying away from acidic foods will help prevent the sores in the first place. Cankers as well as cold sores should be treated by a dentist if they last longer than three weeks.
More dental issues for teens
Teenagers also face dental issues that are more prevalent during that stage of life. For instance, for youngsters who are involved in sports, parents should ask the family dentist for advice on using mouth guards during games or sport activities. They can be custom made, but some are also available over the counter.
As teens experiment with trends such as piercing, the opportunity for infections increase. Getting lips and tongues pierced can greatly affect oral health. Cracked or chipped teeth and gum injuries can result.
Gum disease, or gingivitis, may be a condition that teenagers think only occurs as adults age, but it may start as early as puberty without preventative care, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Because so many teens wear braces, the chance of their gums becoming inflamed is greater as brushing and flossing become difficult to maneuver around the apparatus.
If a teen is smoking and drinking, they could also be placing themselves at extra risk to develop gum disease. Some signs of gingivitis include bleeding from gums during flossing and bad breath. Conferring with one of our local Indiana dentists to help determine proper treatment to stop gum disease before it reaches a serious level.