When it comes to oral health, adolescence is a pivotal time. The last of the permanent teeth come in, providing young men and women with their “adult smile.” Good habits can be forged and reinforced. Teeth can be corrected with orthodontia, providing increased confidence when it is often sorely needed.
Sometimes, teens develop habits that are detrimental to their teeth. They often don’t understand the importance of proper dental hygiene and how it affects lifelong oral health. Tooth decay in adolescence can cause recurring dental problems later on.
Eating disorders also contribute to tooth decay. Bulimia causes enamel erosion, decay, and even complete tooth loss. We strongly advise parents to intervene if they suspect their teen has an eating disorder.
The importance of diet cannot be overstated. Many teenagers decrease their calcium intake – a danger to both bones and teeth. The consumption of energy drinks and sugared soda also contribute to tooth and gum problems in teenagers.
Tobacco and Illegal Drugs
Tobacco and illegal drug use increases the risk of tooth decay and oral cancer. Oral piercings can be extremely dangerous. The health risks include tooth and gum damage, infection, allergic reactions, nerve damage, and excessive swelling that can block airways.
Improper Brushing and Flossing with Braces
Teens undergoing orthodontic treatment often have a difficult time properly cleaning their teeth. It is a challenge to fit toothbrush bristles and floss under dental hardware. Toothbrushes and flossing devices that squirt water can help youth with braces adequately clean their teeth and gums.
Make sure your teenager receives twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings. Dr. Hyatt can identify and treat oral issues in their early stages so that further damage can be prevented or minimized.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following vital guidelines for adolescent oral health:
Teens should drink fluoridated water.
Fluoride supplementation is recommended for high risk teens that don’t have access to fluoridated water (up to age 16).
Teens should use fluoridated toothpaste twice a day.
Teens should floss daily.1
To schedule a comprehensive teen dental examination and cleaning, call Hyatt Family Dental at 817-500-4228 . The team of friendly dental professionals at Hyatt Family Dental is dedicated to oral health for Hurst area patients of all ages.
1“Protecting All Children’s Teeth, Oral Health in Adolescence,” http://www2.aap.org/oralhealth/pact/, accessed September 17, 2014
Contact Hyatt Family Dental: 817-500-4228
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