6 Dental Health Tips for Teens
Teens often go through orthodontic care to help correct crooked or misaligned teeth, but dental care for teens goes far past merely correcting their teeth’s appearance. If you have a teen, it’s important to make sure they’ve developed a healthy dental routine that will help keep their mouths healthy as they transition into adulthood. Here are 6 dental health tips for teens.
1. Brush and floss properly
Brushing and flossing properly is the best way to prevent plaque buildup that can ultimately cause cavities, tooth decay, and other dental health problems. Teens are just as vulnerable to cavities as children, so it’s important that they establish a good hygiene routine. TeensHealth from Nemours offers these tips for the best routine:
- Brush twice a day for two minutes each time
- Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gumline and gently brush from where the tooth and gum meet to the chewing surface. Using short strokes, be sure to brush gently to avoid receding gums and tooth sensitivity
- Clean the surfaces of your teeth tipping the bristles to fall into all pits and crevices
- Hold the toothbrush vertical to clean the inside surfaces of the teeth and gums
- Using a forward-sweeping motion gently brush the tongue and roof of the mouth to remove bacteria that exists in those places
- Brush along to your favorite song or use a timer to make sure you’re brushing for the full 2 minutes each time
- When flossing, carefully place the floss between each tooth and swipe using a back and forth motion. Gently bring it up towards the gumline, don’t force the floss under the gums
2. Focus of nutrition
Nutrition is important for teens, not only to help them while they’re growing, but to also keep their teeth safe too. Eating a healthy diet can help decrease risk for cavities, decay, and other dental health problems. Most importantly, limiting excessive sugar and the amount of acidic food and drinks can help protect your teeth. Incorporating more fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy can help provide the adequate amount of vitamins and minerals teens need to keep their teeth and gums strong and healthy.
3. See the dentist often
No matter your age, you should be seeing the dentist twice a year. For teens, these visits can help fight cavities and more as they tend to drink more soda and eat more fast food that can be damaging to teeth. Dentists can see the parts of your mouth that you can’t see, so it’s during these visits that those hard-to-see areas can be inspected and properly cleaned. Over 59% of teens will experience cavities in their permanent teeth. This alarming statistic is why teens should be seeing their dentist for cleanings and exams on a regular basis.
4. Wear a mouthguard
For teens that participate in sports and other physical activity, it’s important to wear a mouthguard. At your teen’s next appointment, they can be fitted for a mouthguard that is custom fit to their mouth for an appropriate fit. This will help prevent teeth from chipping or breaking in the event the face is hit directly. No matter if it’s a flying ball or an elbow accidentally thrown into the face, a mouthguard can keep your teeth safe and in the mouth where they belong.
5. Avoid oral piercings
Many teens want to add new piercings to help with their self-expression. However, oral piercings cause more harm than good. The mouth is full of bacteria that can lead to swelling and infection, according to WebMD. They list the risks of oral piercings to include:
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, and swallowing
- Damage to gums, tongue, and fillings
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty getting x-rays of teeth
- Increased risk of gum disease, uncontrolled bleeding, infection, and hepatitis B and C
- Allergic reaction
6. Don’t smoke
Smoking is not good for any aspect of health, but especially for teeth. Smoking can cause lack of oxygen, gum disease, and tooth loss in teens and adults alike. It’s important that teens never develop the bad habit of smoking, as it will likely cause dental problems for the rest of their lives.
Call Dr. Ania
If your teen is due for a dental appointment, call Dr. Ania. Here at Dr. Ania’s, we pride ourselves in customizing every aspect of your teen’s dental care, even the cleanings. Our hygienists will spend time educating your teen about their gum health, their dental hygiene, and how they can maintain a healthy smile. To make an appointment click here or call (303)-872-9940.