Dental Care for Teens
Dental health is not a concern only for babies. In a junk-food dominated market, this is a cause of concern among the teens as well. Teenagers, being the more beauty conscious crowd, should take extra effort to keep that pearly white smile intact. Teens are more exposed to sugary food like soda, chocolates, juices and candies. This puts them at a very high risk for tooth decay and cavities. It is thus necessary to follow a strict dental care regimen which must include the following:
Brushing twice daily: This is very important to minimize the harmful effect of all the sugar and chemicals consumed throughout the day. While morning brushing eliminates the germs in the morning and removes odor, there will be germ build-up all through the day which needs to be eliminated before going to bed. This ensures that the sugar does not remain in the mouth throughout the night ultimately decaying the teeth and gums.
Floss Daily: This is also very essential in oral care. There are always food remnants and particles stuck between the teeth and gums which start decaying over time.
Wearing protective mouth-guards: These are protective shield for teeth and gums and are majorly used by people involved in active sports like wrestling, boxing and others which involve possible trauma to the teeth. It is very common for the front teeth to bear the brunt of physical body exertion and has a possibility of chipping. It is very essential that damage of teeth and brackets be prevented by wearing a protective guard over it.
Healthy Food: Our diet must be a combination of nutritious and fibrous food. Avoiding starchy and sugary food like soda and other aerated drinks ensures that your teeth remain healthy for a long time. Regular dosage of calcium is very essential to ensure that the teeth doesn’t become weak and chip off.
Avoiding smoking and usage of tobacco: Nicotine and tobacco has a tendency to stain the teeth and make it a playground for harmful germs which would lead to its decay. It also leads to a foul smell and an ugly appearance. Staying out of these harmful habits is not only good for one’s dental health but also for the overall physical health.
Healthy lifestyle: For a good dental health, it is very essential to have a healthy lifestyle involving good habits. Unhygienic and harmful piercings on the mouth region or the lips can lead to infections which will also affect the teeth and gums. Regular dental appointments and healthy oral habits are every essential to maintain and manage dental problems which might affect your pearly white smile. It also ensures that any health condition that might lead to dental ailments like diabetes is also identified and brought under control before it does significant damage to the teeth and gums. One must also be informed about the medications which they take and its possible effects on dental health to avoid any complications on a later stage. Healthy habits and healthy diet together with regular appointments with a certified dentist is all that takes to a healthy smile.
Teens Healthy Habits
How does one keep away from all those tempting junk food? A more realistic and practical approach to dental health is preventive measures and healthy maintenance. Let us look at some tips and tricks which every teen needs to know to keep their teeth and gums healthy and strong.
Brushing and Flossing: It is no secret that for a healthy smile, one needs to brush regularly. The key however lies in “How”. Most of us think that a hard brush with lots of bristles and a big head is required to scrub off the germs and foul smell off of the teeth. That’s not true. For a healthy brushing, one needs to use a small headed brush with soft bristles. A soft brush ensures that the gums and teeth enamel are not affected by the regular brushing and the small head ensure better reach ability. A bigger head can’t reach the farthest corners of the teeth thus exposing it to germs and leading to cavity. The toothpaste also plays a vital role. A good fluoride tooth paste which is not too sweet will clean better than a sweet and non-fluoride tooth paste. Flossing is also very essential for a well maintained and cavity-free oral health. Flossing removes any food remnants which might start decaying over time leading to decay and cavities.
Sealants: Protecting the uneven and rough, cavity prone regions of the teeth like the molars with a special plastic coating would ensure that there is minimal exposure of these regions to food particles. This would eliminate reasons which might lead to cavities and decay of teeth. It is also used in regions which has started decaying or has cavity to prevent the affected teeth from further damage. It is very essential that a dentist examines the sealants periodically to see if it is intact or needs replacement. Having sealants doesn’t mean one can skip brushing and flossing though!
Mouthguards: For the people who are active in sports, outh guards are an effective means of preserving teeth and gums from damage. Most of these physical activities involve a lot of stress and tension on the teeth and gums leading to chipping and damage. To protect it, one needs a protective cover or guard. Finding the right fitting mouth guard would eliminate any chances of dental damage due to sudden fall or physical blows. It is very important to preserve this mouth guard in hygienic conditions when not in use to avoid germ build-up in it.
Healthy Food and diet: Listening to your body and eating right always helps to keep your body healthy and it is no different to the teeth. Less starchy and calcium rich food with loads of fresh fruits and vegetables ensures that the white smile always remains pearly and gorgeous throughout the lifetime.
There are many concerns pertaining to maintenance and appearance of teeth which needs to examined and treated properly by a certified dentist to avoid future complications. Some of the major causes of concerns among teenagers pertaining to dental health are:
Teeth Alignment: This is a problem which is faced by many teenagers during their early years. Bad alignment of teeth and crooked growth leads to difficulty in biting and chewing along with increased problems in cleaning. Untreated orthodontic issues might lead to more severe and complicated issues in the future. An appointment with a dentist would enable you in understanding the benefits of brackets or braces in correcting this issue. The teeth are aligned properly to the frame to give it a regular and appealing look. There are many options to choose from and a dentist can enable you in deciding which would suit your dental requirements.
Wisdom Teeth: This is the last teeth to erupt during the teenage years. It is called so because it erupts at a time when a teenager reached young adulthood (around 17years) or maturity. Often this tooth does more bad than good. When the teeth alignment is not proper, this molar teeth end up getting formed in a not-so-comfortable position or in a crooked fashion causing a lot of discomfort. In such cases, a dentist would recommend removal of the wisdom teeth. This is recommended on account of formation of tumors, infections, pain in the erupted area, bruising to the nearby tissue, damage to adjacent teeth or gum disease. Sometimes, when a dentist fixes your teeth alignment with the help of braces, he has to remove the wisdom teeth to give room for the other teeth’s alignment.
Smoking and Tobacco usage: This is also a case of concern among many patients. Any form of nicotine and tobacco is detrimental to overall health and oral health. It leads to oral cancer and other complications affecting the teeth and your overall body. The other significant effects of smoking and tobacco consumption are and not limited to:
- Staining and discoloration of teeth
- Numbing of senses (taste and smell) due to the over-bearing flavor of nicotine
- Slowing down of the overall healing process and increased discomfort due to elevated pain post teeth extraction
- Irregular teeth alignment and inability to perform corrective surgeries
- Gum and teeth decay
- Oral cancer
These are some of the more prevalent and widely observed side-effects affecting dental and oral health. Quitting smoking and tobacco usage is not only beneficial to that person but also to the people around the as it minimizes exposure due to passive smoking.
Oral Piercings: This trend is on the increase in the recent times with many teenagers opting for tongue and lip piercings and jewelry. This is highly infectious and dangerous to oral health and hygiene which has a possibility to become fatal as well.
Drug Abuse- Meth: With the number of teenagers exposing themselves to drugs on the rise, this cause of concern has gained wide popularity in the recent times. Methamphetamine or Meth in short, is a strong nervous stimulant has many dangerous side-effects along with a huge risk of complete teeth decay. Users complain of loosening of teeth from the gums, rotting, extensive staining and damage. Most of these conditions are irreversible and can’t be corrected leaving the drug abusers toothless or with decayed and rotting teeth.
Unhealthy dietary pattern: This is also a case of concern with the increased marketing of canned, packed and junk food items. Many teenagers follow an unhealthy eating pattern and timings which affects their overall health. Diet related concerns such as binge eating, anorexia and bulimia leads to degradation of oral health. Patients often complain of swelling of glands that secrete saliva, softening and bleeding of gums, dry mouth, and degradation of enamel due to the build-up of stomach acids. It is very essential that teenagers take special care of their diet and eat healthy food at the right time. Skipping food or over-eating is not advisable for the maintenance of overall health. Visiting the dentist at regular intervals ensures that the teeth and gums are always healthy and any problem caused can be corrected at the initial phase itself.