We all want healthy teeth, fresh breath and beautiful smiles but if you do not maintain a good diet and oral hygiene routine…decay and gum disease can occur in your teens.
Dental Advice For Teens
Keeping Teeth Healthy
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a medium-bristled tooth brush
- Clean between your teeth once daily using floss or interdental brushes
- See our team for regular professional cleanings and checkups even if you are not experiencing any problems
- Drink plenty of water, especially after eating to help rinse food particles off your teeth
- Aim to have a varied and balanced diet
- Limit snacking and avoid snacks high in acid or sugar
- Use a straw when consuming acidic drinks such as orange juice to limit contact with your teeth
- Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal helps to increase saliva production which helps to rinse your mouth
Dental Health Issues Affecting Teens
As discussed already, the most important part of mouth care occurs at home followed by regular professional cleanings and checkups. Taking good care of your teeth as well as making good lifestyle choices can help preserve your smile for many years to come.
Tooth Decay (caries)
Bacteria that livdental-cavitye in your mouth convert sugar from food and drink to produce acid. This acid attacks the surface of your teeth (enamel) and forms cavities. If left untreated, these cavities will grow, can cause pain and may result in tooth loss. Losing teeth can affect the way you look and how you feel about yourself as well as your ability to chew and speak.
Gum Disease (Gingivitis)
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is often painless so you may not even know you have it. However, you may notice that your gums are sore or swollen and bleed easily. Gingivitis is almost always caused by an accumulation of plaque (sticky film of bacteria on your teeth). It is usually preventable and can be eliminated with a good brushing and flossing routine.
Ulcerative gingivitis is a painful condition that can develop in teens and young people, usually quite suddenly. It may be triggered by stress, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance, smoking, weakened immune system, poor nutrition, genetic factors or other underlying infections. The symptoms are much more severe than gum disease (see the list below). Make an appointment with us straight away if you have any concerns about the health of your gums. Treatment may include a professional cleaning, improved oral hygiene, a careful follow-up and/or antibiotics.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- painful, bleeding gums
- painful ulcers
- receding gums in between your teeth
- bad breath
- a bad taste in your mouth
- excess saliva
- difficulty swallowing or speaking
Are you happy with the arrangement of your teeth? The purpose of orthodontics is to help create a healthy arrangement of your teeth which makes it easier for you to bite, chew and speak. As a result, orthodontic treatments also help to create beautiful looking smiles.
Some teens have problems with crowded or crooked teeth or with poor bites. Sometimes, these problems can be hereditary (from your parents) or caused by factors such as thumb sucking or early loss of some baby teeth when you were younger. Many of these problems are treated with braces which can either be bonded (stay in place) or removable. There are several options available now which may also include clear braces or Invisalign which can be used to move teeth into the desired position. If you are interested in orthodontic treatment we can recommend a specialist orthodontist to you.
Contact sports (sports which involve significant physical contact between opponents) are becoming increasingly popular. They can be a lot of fun and are an excellent way to stay active. However, playing a contact sport can also put you at risk of traumatic dental injuries so it is important that you know how to protect yourself.
Some common sport-related dental injuries include:
- Fractured tooth – a portion of the tooth is either cracked, chipped or broken
- Tooth intrusion – tooth has been pushed up into the gums
- Dislodged or knocked-out tooth – tooth becomes knocked out of place or knocked out of the socket completely
- Broken or dislocated jaw
To know what to do in a dental emergency, please refer to our section on dental emergencies.
Protecting Yourself Against Injury
Most significant injuries can be avoided if you consistently wear protective headgear such as a helmet in addition to a mouthguard. It is important to wear a professionally made mouthguard whenever you play a sport that involves contact or moving objects. Let us know if you are in need of a mouthguard can we can have one custom-made for you. They are available in different colours and are a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Smoking, Alcohol & Drugs
In addition to causing many overall health problems, smoking, alcohol and other drugs can have a very negative impact on the look of your smile and the health of your teeth and gums. You may already know that smoking causes serious conditions such as lung cancer but cigarettes and other forms of tobacco and drugs use can also cause:
- Tooth staining
- Bad breath
- Gingivitis and gum disease
- Tooth decay and tooth loss
- Mouth cancer – especially if you both drink and smoke
- Dry mouth