Teens are susceptible to gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth injuries — but these dental maladies can be easily avoided with the right precautions.
Once your child enters their teenage years, there’s a lot that can go wrong with their dental health. Sugary drinks, unhealthy snacks, and even tobacco use could play a new role in your teen’s dietary habits. A higher intake of unhealthy foods combined with risky athletic activities mean that a teenager’s chance of dental damage can be quite high.
Poor dental hygiene leads to bad breath, yellowing teeth, and red gums. But now for the good news: preventing teen dental issues can be easy, and encouraging a strong dental hygiene routine makes all the difference. Whether you’re a parent of teens, or a teen yourself, here are five tips for dental care in mind.
- Get regular cleanings and x-rays.
Make sure to visit the dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and a checkup. Teens, like adults, should get regular checkups with a dentist to ensure that they aren’t experiencing tooth decay, gum disease, or other oral health issues. X-rays can also be helpful for detecting wisdom teeth before they start to become painful.
- Take care of those wisdom teeth.
It’s common for wisdom teeth to develop behind the back molars during our teenage years. Wisdom teeth are at risk of growing unevenly, damaging the surrounding teeth, and causing oral infections. If your teen’s dental x-ray shows signs of wisdom teeth, talk to your dentist about scheduling an appointment with an oral surgeon to get them removed — before they cause serious dental problems.
- Wear mouth guards during risky sports.
High-octane sports like soccer, basketball, and football increase your teen’s risk for dental trauma and broken teeth. In junior high and high school, these sports will become more intense. Chipped or broken teeth can be costly to fix, and cracked teeth can lead to infections or abscesses if left untreated. Talk to your teen about wearing a mouthguard during risky sports to decrease the chance for dental injuries.
- Keep an eye out for gum disease.
Adults genetically at risk for gum disease often begin to show warning signs in their teen years. This is especially true for teenage girls. If your teen is experiencing inflamed, red, or sensitive gums, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to learn about treatment options for gum disease.
- Make healthy choices.
A solid dental hygiene routine is the most important part of preventing cavities, later-stage tooth decay, and gingivitis. Make sure your teen knows that sugary beverages, sugary foods, and especially tobacco can lead to tooth decay and gum infections. To keep a healthy dental routine, ensure that your teen flosses at least once a day, brushes twice a day, and always let you know if they have dental pain or discomfort.
Finding the Right Dental Care
Remember that for both teens and adults, lowering dental risks can be simple — stick to a healthy dental routine and wear a mouthguard when participating in contact sports. But as a parent, it will likely be difficult to control your teen’s lifestyle choices — what they eat, their hygiene habits, and how careful they are when playing sports. If your teen is experiencing dental problems, consult a dentist as soon as possible.
For high-quality dental care across the Denver metro area, visit our dentists at Espire. At Espire, we offer a comfortable treatment environment for teens and adults alike. You can visit Espire for cleanings and x-rays, in addition to trustworthy dental procedures. Your teen’s smile is too important to wait — schedule an appointment at Espire today.