We’ve talked about the importance of setting good dental hygiene habits early on within the blog before, but another important age range we’d like to highlight includes adolescent patients. We understand that, as a parent, you are concerned about how to prevent cavities in kids — and that includes your teenager!
The adolescent years are important ones for dental hygiene because of the usual lifestyle changes that take place. For instance, this is an age where it’s common to start drinking coffee — especially the fancy (sugary) lattes from coffee shops.
Coffee is acidic anyway, and paired with all the sugar in the flavored lattes can be damaging to tooth enamel.
It doesn’t help that adolescent students typically have much busier lives at this point than they did as kids, balancing studies, homework, social lives, and even part time jobs. What can happen amidst all this is adolescent patients slip a bit on brushing and flossing.
These changes can have a noticeable impact on overall oral health.
Our passion for pediatric dentistry includes adolescent patients for these reasons especially. It’s our goal to reinforce good oral hygiene habits and maintain a regular dental exam and cleaning schedule to prevent cavities and other maladies from suddenly cropping up during the teenage years.
Call us to schedule an appointment! We’re excited to know you and your child.
Common Adolescent Dentistry Questions
Can tongue and lip piercings affect dental health?
In a word, yes. It’s not our intention to try to scare people out of making these kinds of choices, but in the interest of helping parents be aware of potential risks there are some things to bear in mind.
The tongue is a much more sensitive part of the body than an ear for piercings. An unlicensed piercing parlor increases the risks of tetanus, tuberculosis, and even hepatitis. When not performed properly, oral piercings can also cause bacterial infections, blood clots, damage to nearby teeth, and even simply the possibility of the piercing coming loose and being swallowed.
What effects does tobacco use have on oral health for my teenager?
Most people are aware of the damage tobacco use can have on the lungs, but you may not realize the oral health risks that come along with it.
Any tobacco usage, even chewing tobacco, can increase the risks of oral cancer, periodontal disease, discolored teeth, and diminished ability to smell and taste.
If your teenager has been using tobacco, or you suspect that they may be, it’s good to have a conversation with them about these potential risks as well as tobacco’s addictive nature.
Even though as a pediatric dental office our patients are all under 18, this is worth mentioning because the CDC reports that close to 9/10 adult smokers had their first cigarette before they were 18.
What is the proper way for my teenager to floss his or her teeth?
After brushing their teeth, your teenager should use a section of floss roughly 18 inches in length, wrapping each end around their middle fingers. Bring the floss down between each tooth and move it upward and away from the gums. They can also rub the floss gently up and down against the sides of teeth to remove buildup.
Remind them not to be rough or jam the floss down into the gums, and not to forget to floss behind the back teeth.
Should I consider a mouth guard for my adolescent child?
If your teenager has started participating in sports or other active recreation, mouth guards can be a good idea to protect teeth from accidental blows to the face and mouth. Mouth guards help prevent broken or knocked out teeth, as well as injuries to the tongue and jaw.