Dr. Kelli Slate offers some dental advice for parents who have teenagers:
- It is always important to maintain regular brushing and flossing of our teeth. However, adolescents can sometimes be difficult and wish to protect their independence; especially when it comes to personal things like taking care of their teeth. Many parents know it is difficult to enforce any routine but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Remind your teenagers to brush and floss their teeth at least daily. And remember that even a simple reward may entice them to stick to regularly cleaning their teeth.
- Drinking plenty of water is good for you in many ways. It may not be possible to know what teenagers drink when they are at school but you can help them become healthier by avoiding sugar rich sodas in the house. Sugary sodas, especially when consumed in excess, are well known to be a major cause of tooth decay in addition to other problems such as obesity. Why not buy your teenager a cool looking water bottle they can take to school filled with plain water. It will save money and be so much better for their health.
- Does your teenager play sports or engage in physical activities where their teeth could get damaged? Ask us about a custom-made mouthguard. It is always best to get expert dental advice about which type of mouthguard your teenager needs.
- Oral Piercings are becoming more fashionable these days. Many teenagers are having their tongues and lips pierced. Research studies have shown that oral piercings lead to dental problems such as cracked or chipped teeth and in many instances injuries to gum tissue. In severe cases, piercings have even caused irreparable nerve damage. If your teenager has an oral piercing, it is important that they make regular dental appointments for examinations and that inspections are also undertaken at home. Contact us immediately if any problem arises. And before getting an oral piercing, try to get your teenager to visit a dentist for advice.
- Gum Disease is not just a problem for adults but often starts during puberty. In fact changes in the body’s hormones can cause an adolescent’s gums to become more sensitive and susceptible. This is especially true for girls. Dental braces can also make regular care through brushing and flossing more difficult. This unfortunately leaves gums more vulnerable to a build-up of tartar and plaque which increases the likelihood of developing gum disease. If for any reason you notice that flossing is causing your teenager’s gums to bleed or they are suffering from bad breath, schedule a visit to your dentist. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the problem and if necessary recommend ongoing dental treatment for gum disease.
- Canker Sores – Does your teenager wear braces? If they do then they could be more susceptible to get canker sores. These sores frequently go away on their own. However, avoiding foods which are acidic and regular cleaning will reduce the likelihood of them reappearing in the future. If canker or cold sores are creating considerable discomfort or do not subside and go away after a few weeks then contact your dentist to make an appointment.
- Anorexia and bulimia eating disorders are serious diseases that require medical treatment. Not only do they damage your teenager’s general health but they can also damage their teeth. If your adolescent has been diagnosed by a doctor with one of these eating disorders, it is important to advise your dentist and book an appointment. Only your dentist can help with problems such as the development of tooth cavities, mouth lesions and gum disease which are all commonly associated with these eating disorders.