An attractive and healthy smile is important to our teenagers, but not all our kids realize the genuine reasons for maintaining oral health. It is time we have a conversation to help them understand. Visit here to read about teens taking care of their teeth.
While self-esteem is vital to help develop confidence in attempts to make good impressions when meeting new people and creating new friendships, another thing to remember is that there is a connection between mouth health and overall general well-being.
Ignoring teeth and gums during self-care regimens can ultimately lead to possible sickness with a need to see a medical doctor. It is tough being a teenager today. Most have incredibly stressful and busy schedules with activities, clubs, sports, school. . . There’s little time to breathe, let alone be ill. Finding time for general self-care and dental health can be challenging each day, but it needs to be a priority.
Not only is there the potential for the development of medical conditions, but unfortunately, neglecting hygiene can bring you to the forefront of the crowd but not for the reasons you are hoping for. Some results include:
- Decay / cavities
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
Many teens do not receive adequate dental care, with a common chronic disease being decay in those up to age 17 because they lack the professional guidance and recommended tools for developing proper habits.
Once a parent can express the importance and convince at least a yearly visit to the dental clinic, essential topics can be dealt with between parent, teen, and dentist with trusted, open, honest communication.
Dental Care and The Teenager
Having a conversation with your teenager about dental care and the importance of hygiene is critical for mouth health and overall well-being. Unfortunately, teenagers tend to give themselves a choice of dealing with their hectic schedule or indulging in self-care, with dental care usually falling through the cracks and decay being a primary condition many suffer because of it.
Dentists and parents are pulling together to get teens into the clinic to help them handle important issues kids face with mouth health. These young adults do not realize habits they develop now will have effects for a lifetime. Some things we need to talk to them about include:
The effects of smoking, illicit drugs, and alcohol on oral wellness
Smoking is toxic in numerous ways, not only to your general health but for your mouth. It can give you bad breath, discolor your teeth, create gum disease, cause tooth loss, and most horrifically develop cancer in your oral region and throat.
Alcoholic drinks can potentially lead to decay of teeth plus erosion. Many of these beverages are loaded with sugar, and a lot of the mixed cocktails contain acidic liquids, creating damage when you consume them often or in large quantities.
Illicit drugs are responsible for many health issues. Cannabis is similar in effect to tobacco. In most cases, drugs will create cravings for junk foods and sugars or carbonated drinks, leading to decay. There is also often a tendency to grind when using, which can wear teeth down.
These habits are exceptionally addictive. Once you start, it’s challenging to stop, even for those who believe they have “it under control.” Take advantage of a sound support system, talk to those around you, and stop. Do not let it follow you into adulthood.
Some teenagers are unhappy with their smiles, perhaps self-conscious about how teeth look in pictures or maybe when trying to get ready to go out in a social setting. A dentist can do many different things to help a teen improve what might be displeasing to them.
- Whitening: A parent will need to contact a dentist to get teeth whitening tips for teens since the professional is the only person legally able to whiten their teeth. Many kids want a whiter smile, and there are whitening kids you can use at home, but you need to be 18+ to buy those.
- Braces: Braces are the last thing a student in junior or senior high wants to hear a dentist suggest, but these are often the best way to correct misalignment, crooked or crowded sets, straighten, and simply make overall improvements. Fortunately, with technology, there are many options, including invisible choices.
Eating disorders affect millions of Americans, young and adult, including anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating. These are exceptionally severe health conditions that debilitate a person physically but also can destroy mouth health. Inadequacies in nutrition bring issues for the soft tissues of the mouth, making them bleed easily, especially the gums, and causing the salivary glands to swell, bringing instances of dry mouth.
Continual vomiting leads to the enamel being destroyed on the surfaces of the teeth from stomach acid that can change the shape, color, and length of teeth permanently. There are excellent resources for guidance on eating disorders through the “National Eating Disorder Association.” These life-threatening disorders require medical care and counseling, plus support from those you trust. You are never alone. Reach out, even if it is just one person with whom you feel close.
Teens have a lot on their plate in this modern world. It is tough to eat right, follow a self-care routine, get in a fitness regimen, and handle seeing the dentist every six months to learn proper habits and develop adequate tools for care. For teens who might take a moment to read on the go. Here are a few quick tips that might help:
- Brush the last thing before bed and one other time throughout the day with a small to medium head brush and soft bristles with a pea-size amount of paste for two minutes. You want up to 1500ppm, fluoride.
- In between teeth, use an “interdental” brush or at least traditional floss once a day to keep plaque away from these areas. Follow this with a mouth rinse to wash away the bacteria and freshen your breath.
- If you want sweets or beverages, indulge only with meals.
- Use a straw for carbonated drinks since it will take it to the back of the mouth, decreasing the acid attack on your teeth.
- When you need to indulge in acidic or sweet things, wait at least an hour before brushing. Enamel will soften after having these things and brushing right away will wear down your surfaces.
- Chew on sugar-free gum when you are through eating to increase saliva production, washing away acids that form after eating.
- Try to see the dentist minimally one time a year – you can fit that in.
Pencil four minutes a day into your schedule. And these tips – easy-peasy.