Take Care of Teenager’s Teeth
All of the advise in “Take Care of Your Teeth” will apply to teenagers too, though extra encouragement to brush teeth every day, twice for two minutes may be required. However there are elements within youth culture that might additionally impact on your teenager’s teeth, and these are covered on this page.
The main tips are the same:
- Brush teeth for two minutes, twice a day
- Floss daily
- Limit sugar
- Visit the dentist for check ups and cleaning
But additional considerations are:
Taking proper care of braces/orthodontic fixtures
Protecting teeth with a mouth guard during sports
Choose snacks which have little/no sugar
Avoid taking up smoking, chewing tobacco or vaping
Make safe choices with a dentist about oral piercings
Plaque is a naturally growing layer of bacteria in our mouth – the bacteria particularly like to sit in along the gum line. Some of the bacteria in plaque eat sugar in the food we consume and in doing so, releases an acid.
Acid changes the chemistry of tooth enamel, making it weak and causing holes. For teenagers who walk to school or pop to the shops during their lunch break, the temptation to spend pocket money on sugary treats can be great. Sweets and soft drinks are a fantastic treat for the bacteria in plaque and as they eat the sugar they secrete acid which permanently damages teeth. Many fruit drinks state they have “no added sugar”, but these often still have natural sugars in which, when juiced up, are just as damaging to teeth. Even fruity and fizzy drinks with no sugar in can cause damage because the acid in them dissolves tooth enamel.
The best way to avoid damaging teeth is to reduce the number of times sugar and acid is eaten through the day. Keep sugary treats to meal times, or even just one snack time, rather than sipping or “grazing” on sugar throughout the day. The rest of the time, try to keep to water, milk or tea with no added sugar to drink, and fruit and vegetables to snack on.
Smoking and Vaping
Smoking can cause all sorts of problems for your teeth and mouth. From bad breath and tooth staining, to gum disease and mouth cancer, the problems can be both embarrassing and painful.
However vaping isn’t much good either. While it may be a good step down from a smoking addiction, it is not advisable to take up vaping for any other reason. The nicotine vapes contain is addictive, meaning not only you can get hooked and spend a lot of money on the habit, but the problems vapes cause can get worse over a long time.
Vapes contain flavourings which are often sweet or sour. These flavourings although rarely sugar, are acidic and can damage the enamel on your teeth.
While piercings can be a great way to express yourself, some can cause damage to your mouth and teeth. Any piercing in your lip or tongue which prevents saliva being able access an area of your mouth or surface of your teeth is putting that area at risk of damage from bacteria.
If a piercing has been fitted poorly, it may also rub or cut soft parts of your mouth, and wounds can get infected if not looked after properly.
For more information about mouth piercings, tattoos, tooth jewellery and grills, use this link to visit Safe Smiles by the Oral Health Foundation.