When it comes to oral health, adolescence is a pivotal time. On the upside, the last of the permanent teeth come in, providing young men and women with their “adult smile.” Good habits can be learned and reinforced. Teeth can be straightened, providing increased confidence when it is often sorely needed.
On the downside, some teens take up habits that are detrimental to their teeth. Adolescents often don’t understand the importance of proper dental hygiene and fail to adequately care for their teeth. Some young men and women develop teenage tooth decay that can cause recurring dental problems in later years.
The importance of diet cannot be overstated. Adolescence is a time when many young men and women 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.
Additionally, teens that use tobacco and illegal drugs have an increased risk of tooth decay and oral cancer. Oral piercings can be extremely harmful. The health risks include tooth and gum damage, infection, allergic reactions, nerve damage, and excessive swelling that can block airways.
Teens who are 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 teens with braces adequately clean their teeth and gums.
Cary Family Dental advises North Carolina parents to make sure their teens receive twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings. Allan Acton 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 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 teen dental examination and cleaning, call Cary Family Dental at 919-371-4428. The team of welcoming dental professionals at Cary Family Dental is dedicated to oral health for patients of all ages.
1“Protecting All Children’s Teeth, Oral Health in Adolescence,” http://www2.aap.org/oralhealth/pact/, accessed September 17, 2014
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