Hello, Facebook family. My name is Dr. Joye Warr, and I’m a pediatric dentist in High Point, North Carolina. And I am here to answer your questions. So, today we’re talking about teen and adolescent oral health. Or if you have a teenager or if you have an adolescent, you might want to tune in. And if you have a friend who has a teenager, then help them to tune in to like.

But first, I want to take a minute. And just thank you for the many outpourings of love and condolences and the loss of my brother. Y’all have been absolutely dynamic. And I just really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. And we pray that you just continue to keep our family in your prayers.

But on to the topic. Today, we’re going to talk about teen and adolescent mental health. Now last time, we had a lot of technical difficulties. So today we’re going to do a little bit better. And I’m going to tell you a little bit about what we were talking about the last time. Now though, a lot of people don’t understand that there is a big difference between teens, adolescents, and adults. And it’s still something totally different than toddlers. So, for the first thing teens and adolescents have a combination of teeth. So, most teens and adolescents have both adult teeth, and baby teeth. So, since you can’t really determine like, oh, let’s not take care of these baby teeth, because they’re going to fall out soon, you got to make sure that your teen is doing their job.

The other real big difference is in the teen adolescent diet. So, teens and adolescents nowadays eat a lot differently than adults. And even toddlers. Remember that they drink a lot more sports drinks, they do a lot more snacking at school, they do a lot more soda, they’re eating more pizza, less vegetables. And especially if your teen has like an after-school job, or if they’re in sports or something like that, then their nutrition, their water intake is probably not exactly what it should be. And that’s why oral health is so important for your teen or for your adolescent.

The other thing that’s really a key is that now adolescents and teens are drinking a lot more coffee.  Starbucks and other cold brew drinks and things like that are available much more than they were probably when you were a kid, remember it wasn’t popular for teens and adolescents to drink coffee. But with the advent of Starbucks, I’ve seen more and more kids have staining or other problems that are related directly to drinking coffee. So, we got to take all that in to consideration.

The final thing that’s really, really important. Not only their diet, not only their dentition, because they have both adult and baby teeth, but their gums. That’s something that we don’t worry about as much. When we’re talking about elementary aged school kids or toddlers, we don’t worry about their gums that much. But your adolescence, or your teenager, is going through a big hormonal change. I know, you know, I know, you know, I’ve got teenagers too. But they’re going through a big hormonal change. And that hormonal change shows up not only in their attitude, but also in their gums. That’s something that’s different. And so, gum health is important when we start talking about adolescents and teenagers.

So, what do you do? One of the things that I always get questions about is how do you make your teens brush? And the answer is, I wish I knew the answer. It’s just a matter of you knowing your teen and you making sure that you motivate them the right way. So, it’s about motivation, and you know what’s best for your teen. Remember that you can’t brush their teeth for them like you can if they were a toddler, or if they were in elementary school, you know, like come here, let me brush your teeth. But when you’re talking about a 13- or 16-year-old, that’s something that you really can’t do. And as you know, fussing doesn’t really help.

So, one of the things that you must know about your teen is how to motivate them. I don’t know could be phone, could be movies, could be snacks or desserts. So, whatever it is that motivates them, that’s how you want to connect with them. Help them to understand that these teeth that they have now, even though you’re only 13, you’re going to want them when you’re 31, 113, and 131. So, it’s especially important for them to take care of them. Also, it’s important that you use the right kind of toothpaste. Remember that adolescents aren’t quite ready to whiten their teeth. And we’re going to talk a lot about that in another session coming up soon. But because adolescents have young adult teeth, or adult teeth that are in the mouth, but that aren’t necessarily mature enough to endure whitening, you don’t want to start whitening with your 13 or your 14-year-old. You want to make sure that the toothpaste that they’re using has some strengthening, enamel strengthening ingredients, like fluoride is a good one. If you don’t like fluoride, or you don’t like to use fluoride, make certain that you’re not using a whitening toothpaste, because in adolescent teeth, that whitening toothpaste can do the opposite of what you want it to do. So, remember, you got to watch the toothpaste, you got to motivate them the right way.

And you got to make sure that they’re flossing. Flossing during the adolescent and teen years is absolutely critical. In the in the baby and toddler dentition. Often kids have a lot of spacing, especially in the front. But when your child does not have spacing between their teeth like they did in their baby teeth, it’s critically important that they floss.  Flossing, we recommend that you help them until they’re eight. And after the age of eight, it doesn’t matter what kind of floss are they use, they can use the strength floss, they can use the floss picks. And those are the flosses that are already threaded, and you just use them as you would a toothpick. Or you can also use an air floss, air floss is like water picks on steroids. And they’re portable. And those are excellent. For kids who don’t feel cool about flossing, we still recommend that you floss with the string one way or another. But air flossing is certainly a viable alternative to that if you can’t get your teen to floss.

So, just to recap, we’ve talked about how you got to motivate your teen, because you can’t do it for them. So, you know how to motivate them. We also talked about how their diet is different. And then we’ve also talked about how to use the right kind of toothpaste not whitening not yet. And, we talked about how you got to motivate them to floss.

Now, you want to make sure that you tune in again, next two weeks, which will be the 14th of February so that we can talk a little bit more, not about Valentine’s Day. But we’re going to talk a little bit more about braces next time. That’s the second most common question that I probably get from parents of adolescents and teenagers. Does my child need braces? Well, for the answer to that you’re going to have to tune in next time.

Now, I want to tell you what’s coming up with our February, national Dental Health Month. We are sad that we can’t go around to schools like we usually do every February since I’ve been practicing. We’ve been blessed to be able to go into schools and to go into daycares. Well, because of COVID. That’s not possible this year. But we have an alternative. That’s right. We put our head together so that we can continue to educate your children while they’re in school. So please let your teacher know that all they must do is email us. We have a special film about dental health. It’s about James and his journey toward learning about taking care of his teeth. So, we want you and your children to enjoy that film. So, we’re asking if you know a teacher or if you’re a teacher or if you are a daycare provider that you would send us an email with how many kids are in your class. And for every child, we will deliver to your door contact free, who know that that was a word. That’s a word now contact free. Some goodie bags, one for each child or each pupil in your classroom. So, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, there’s absolutely no cost for this. We just want to continue the tradition that we’ve started 15 years ago of educating people during February, which is National Dental Health Month.

So, I want to thank everybody for joining us. Again. I just want to thank you all for coming and joining and spending a few minutes with me. Do me a favor, share this. Tell your friends about it. I hope it helps. And if you have a question, please don’t hesitate to ask. But y’all have a wonderful, wonderful afternoon and take care. Bye bye!