Tips for a Healthy and Bright Smile for Teens
Great dental health is essential for people of all ages but practicing good oral habits as a teenager is especially important to help your child grow into adulthood. Dr. Eric Yao understands that the first thing that people notice is your smile, so maintaining a smile that is healthy and bright throughout your pre-teen and teenage years are critical.
The Case for a Healthy Smile
Anyone can be affected by cavities, regardless of age. Some people might even have a cavity and not realize it. To ensure your child’s best oral health, it’s important for your teenager to visit the dentist regularly for examinations and check-ups. Catching potential oral complications early can give our dentist at the office of Dr. Eric Yao in Shoreline, WA the opportunity to fix the problem before it becomes a larger and more painful issue. Attending to your dental health from an early age can promote a smile you’ll love for a lifetime.
Practice Good Dental Habits
The first step to teaching your children proper dental habits is practicing excellent oral hygiene yourself. If you encourage your child and teenager to brush and floss when they are young, they will likely carry the habit throughout their adult years. Good oral hygiene involves using a soft bristle toothbrush and ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste to brush on, around, under, and behind teeth twice a day, as well as flossing and removing food lodged between teeth at least once a day. Other oral products such as mouthwash also help to remove bacteria and keep your mouth feeling fresh.
Skip the Sugary Drinks
Whether we’re practicing sports or rehydrating during the summertime, we often think to grab a sports drink. While some sports drinks are okay to consume, you’ll want to ensure that your teen is drinking an equal amount or more of water to combat the excess sugar. Carbonated sodas, sports drinks, and juices can have high amounts of sugar that lead to dehydration and tooth decay. When it comes to drinks with high sugar content, moderation is key.
Choose Healthier Snacks
When your children are active and busy, attending practices, music lessons, tutoring, playing outside, and other events, they work up an appetite. While it might be more convenient for your teen to grab a bag of candy or chips, eating these types of foods consistently is not an excellent choice for your teen’s health overall. Feel better and maintain good oral health by choosing healthy snacks to fuel up on. Sliced cheese, turkey wraps, veggies, and fresh-cut fruit are great on-the-go snacks.
Wear a Mouthguard
Playing a sport could be the highlight of your son or daughter's teenage years. However, impact and high-contact games should always be performed with a mouthguard. Well-fitted mouthguards prevent close contact between the mandibular and maxillary detention, which can result in concussions, endodontic injuries, tooth or bone fractures, tooth avulsions, and soft-tissue lacerations. Statistically, participating in sports account for almost a third of dental injuries.
Mouth Piercings and Dental Dangers
While lip and tongue piercing may be a teenage trend, they are dangerous to your child’s dental health. Oral piercings can easily become inflamed and infected due to harmful bacteria in your mouth. Mouth jewelry that repeatedly rubs against or clicks your teeth can damage, chip, or crack your teeth. Some people even experience a numbness following their piercing that can become permanent.
If you already have a mouth piercing it is especially important that you take proper care of your mouth. Use a mouth rinse to clean the site after meals and snacks. Additionally, you’ll want to remain cautious of your jewelry movement while you are chewing or talking so that it doesn’t come in contact with your teeth.
Don’t Use Teeth as Tools
When you're young, your teeth can see as the perfect tools, especially when we don't have the correct tools at hand. However, doing so can cause permanent damage or even break your teeth! As a rule, you'll want to avoid opening bottles, tearing bags, crunching ice and hard candy, and using your teeth to hold items.
Tips for Traveling
Whether your teen is sleeping over at a friends house, traveling to a relative's, or taking a vacation, good oral hygiene should not be forgotten. Always pack travel items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss for any overnight and extended stays. If you're taking an extended trip, it's important to prepare for the worst with a dental emergency kit.
Oral Health and Braces
Over 75 percent of children and teens experience some issue when their adult teeth grow in. Over half of these teens receive braces to fix both major and minor cosmetic problems. Ensuring good oral habits while your teen has braces is especially important to prevent cavities and other complications when they get their braces removed. In addition to brushing and flossing twice a day, teens with braces must also use special care when cleaning around metal components and in between teeth.
Great oral care starts and stops with visiting your dentist on a regular basis. Because some oral complications are not always noticeable on the surface, it's important to see our dentist at least every six months to ensure that your mouth is in good working order. Our experts can help detect the early onset of a number of health complications, including certain cancers, gum diseases including periodontal disease, and cavities. To ensure your family’s best overall health, call and make an appointment with our Shoreline dentist today!