4 Tips for Looking After Teen Teeth: Why Does it Matter?
Pardon the pun, but getting teenagers to do anything can often feel like pulling teeth. If by some miracle you do convince them that your advice should be listened to, it’s another thing entirely for them to keep on top of their dental health. So, if you’ve ever struggled to get your teens to brush regularly and take care of their teeth, this article is full of ideas for maintaining great dental health as a teen.
What’s different about teen dental health?
During the teenage years, the body changes in many different ways. One major part of that is their dental health. Typically, most people have their adult teeth by the age of 12, so when they hit their teen years, they shouldn’t have to worry about teeth falling out. The only new teeth will be their third molars, also known as wisdom teeth. These usually appear around the age of 18-20.
So, while your teen hopefully won’t have to deal with new teeth, the ones they have are always changing. As teens grow, so does their mouth. When everything grows in line, there’s usually no problem. But during the teenage years, many people experience overcrowded or misaligned teeth. It’s quite natural and unavoidable, but your dentist in Parramatta can always recommend a solution.
Getting on top of dental issues as a teenager is the best way to enjoy a beautiful smile long into adult life, which is why people tend to experience more dental work in their teens than at any other stage of life.
Tips for looking after teen dental health
Fortunately, there are plenty of things that teens can do every day in order to maintain good dental health. Due to everybody’s growth being different, some teens may need corrective dental work while others don’t. We’ll discuss some of these procedures and preventatives here.
Maintain a good diet
We know, it’s nearly impossible to keep teenagers away from bad foods, but educating your children about a healthy diet from a young age is a good way to help them later in life. Teens should avoid activities like smoking and drinking alcohol for a number of reasons, and dental health is just one of them. The same goes for sugary drinks like fruit juice, soft drinks and even flavoured milk. Sugary food should also be avoided – or at least enjoyed in moderation.
Bad foods, particularly sugary ones, are one of the leading causes of cavities and tooth decay. Plus, they damage tooth enamel, which is the protective coating over your teeth. Once your enamel is gone, it’s gone for good, and there is no way to repair it. This leads to a condition known as dentin hypersensitivity, which makes it very painful to consume hot or cold foods. As such, keeping your teens away from foods that damage enamel is the best way to look after them.
Everybody should brush their teeth regularly, not just teens. Brushing in the morning and before bed is the best routine to follow, as it helps to clear away food particles and bacteria that have formed throughout the day. While most people are good at brushing their teeth in the morning as part of their routine, it’s easy to forget the evening brush.
Unlike toddlers, you can’t really force teens to brush their teeth, so dental education is the best method. Make sure they understand how important it is to maintain good oral health, and keep reminding them to brush at night, no matter how much they accuse you of nagging!
Regular dental check-ups
Unfortunately, it’s not always visible to the naked eye if your teen’s teeth aren’t growing as straight as they should. Because their mouth is still growing, as are their teeth, the best way to avoid misaligned or overcrowded teeth is with regular dental check-ups.
Your family dentist examines your teen’s teeth, and along with important dental cleaning, they will be able to identify issues before they get too severe. For example, misaligned teeth may require corrective actions such as braces or Invisalign. Ultimately, only your dentist will know what’s best to keep your teen’s dental health on track, so regular visits are extremely important.
It’s important to remember that your teen’s teeth are still growing, so if you can catch issues early, it’s a lot easier to correct them now. Wait until they are adults, and the problem may be much worse. If your teen is worried about braces, you can set their mind at ease because there are many different treatments for dental issues these days.
Don’t forget the fluoride
Fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel and therefore prevents acids from eroding the enamel on your teeth. Fortunately, most tap water in Australia has fluoride. Plus, most toothpaste varieties you choose for your child are also packed with fluoride (if not, we strongly recommend switching).
While brushing with fluoride toothpaste is often enough, it never hurts to get a little more fluoride, so it’s good to know that certain fruits and vegetables also contain this compound. Spinach, grapes and potatoes are good sources of fluoride, and might just give your child the boost they need to keep developing strong, healthy tooth enamel for years to come.
Looking for a dentist in Parramatta for teens?
Here at Parramatta Dental Avenue, we specialise in family dental care. That means everybody from toddlers to grandparents. The teenage years are vital for maintaining healthy teeth, so we’re always keen to help manage your kids’ dental health. Whether you have specific concerns about your teen’s teeth, or you just want regular check-ups and cleaning, we’re here to help. For a friendly dentist in Parramatta, look no further than Dental Avenue. Contact us today to make a booking.