Teenagers usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to taking care of their dental needs. Providing family dental care in Lake Worth has afforded us the unique experience of seeing teenagers grow up. However, many of them don’t follow the good advice they get as kids as they get older. However, as we all know, teenagers don’t really consider dental health to be at the top of their list of priorities. With growing up so prominent in their minds, their interpersonal relationships are more relevant to them.
This month, according to the American Dental Association, is National Children’s Dental Health Month. As teenagers are still technically children, we thought it would be good to focus on a few tips for teens that are relevant to their lives. It’s something that teenagers need since the CDC notes that tooth decay is a more common occurrence than asthma in the 14 to 17 age group. Let’s take a look at the things that teens can do to keep their teeth in better shape.
1. Getting Braces
Since braces have been a regular sight in kids, teenagers have despised wearing them. There are hundreds, if not thousands of stories about kids trying to avoid wearing braces. However, braces might be a necessity for ensuring healthy tooth growth and development. There is a growing trend for adults to start wearing braces, which might lead to acceptance from teens.
One of the unstated benefits of braces to a teenager is that it will set them up for having a better smile later on in life. Straighter teeth make for easier care, including brushing and flossing. Medicine Net mentions that in addition to making an aesthetic smile, dental braces also help to relieve pressure on a patient’s temporomandibular joints. New technology makes it much easier for teens to get almost invisible braces, enabling them to go through their high school life without having to worry about being an outcast. If you need braces as a teenager, getting them earlier can help align your teeth more efficiently than waiting until you’re an adult.
2. Dealing with Wisdom Teeth
Despite the name, wisdom teeth don’t necessarily make you wise. The Mayo Clinic notes that wisdom teeth usually start making an appearance in a person’s mouth around the ages of 17 to 25. However, because of how human beings have evolved in terms of facial structure and diet, many people who get wisdom teeth have the problem of them coming in impacted. These can lead to excruciating sensations along the jaw, making it hard to concentrate on anything around you.
Dealing with your wisdom teeth when they’re impacted isn’t an option; it’s a necessity. The pain is only the beginning of the problems that an impacted wisdom tooth can cause. It is, however, a good sign that you need to see your dentist as soon as possible. The longer you leave the tooth in your mouth, the higher the chance of it causing cysts, tumors, being a candidate for infection, and damaging all the teeth around it. In most cases, a simple extraction might be enough to get rid of the pain and discomfort your impacted wisdom tooth may be causing you.
3. Smoking and Your Teeth
We’re not here to judge you. If you decide that you’d like to smoke despite the numerous problems it could cause to your health, then you should know what it can do to your teeth as well. Bad breath is one of the most apparent side-effects of being a smoker, but it’s not the only one. Smoking dulls your tastebuds and your sense of smell as well. The cigarette filters and their nicotine can lead to unsightly stains on your teeth. Even more dangerous than that is the risk of oral cancer, which can be fatal. The Oral Cancer Foundation notes that smokers are 15 times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers.
There are ways to deal with cigarette and nicotine addiction that might help you to recover. Vaping doesn’t lead to any of those problems (at least, based on the feedback from current studies that have been done). Nicotine patches can help to wean you off smoking, but nicotine itself is a harmful drug with its own side-effects. Quitting smoking may be the best option, but the choice of whether to keep smoking remains yours.
4. Bling and Mouth Jewelry
In a little over ten years, mouth jewelry has gotten quite prevalent in specific sectors of society. Many parents have an inherent distaste for seeing their kids wearing it. However, like most fashion statements, whether or not parents like it, teens will wear it. Mouth piercings and jewelry carry with them some severe risks, however. As with anything being worn in your mouth, if it’s not correctly cared for, it could lead to infection and complications. Your mouth is home to a lot of bacteria, and a scratch could leave you vulnerable to disease.
Taking care of piercings and other mouth jewelry needs to be done systematically. Usually, you’d be expected to use warm salt water to rinse your mouth if you have a piercing in it. These precautions don’t take into account things like biting down on a metal stud which could invariably crack your tooth enamel and lead to infection. If you don’t clean piercings properly, they could lead to severe system infections such as endocarditis and hepatitis. Having these piercings is a responsibility, and if you haven’t been taking your oral healthcare seriously before getting them, you’d better start doing so after you get them.
5. Eating Disorders
Within the US, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, as many as 10% of young women suffer from an eating disorder, which includes anorexia and bulimia. This topic is one that not many people approach because of how ingrained within our society it has become. However, the impact of eating disorders on oral health is unmistakable. Poor nutrition can lead to longer healing times for things like canker sores or gum lesions that may happen while brushing teeth. Gums also swell and bleed much easier when you’re not getting enough nutrition from your food.
Stomach acid is also a severe problem if you’re throwing up a lot. When your stomach acid makes impact with your teeth, it could lead to a faster breakdown of the enamel. Eating disorders are no joke, and if you or someone you know has one, you should reach out to a psychiatrist for help. Your entire body’s health, not just that of your mouth, is at stake.
Preparing For Adulthood
Teens face a lot of mental pressure from their internal body changes and how society treats them. However, teenage years are supposed to be a way to prepare to be an adult. Everything you do at this point can have a significant effect on your body as you grow older. That’s why taking care of your oral hygiene from now is an ideal solution. At Anderson Dental Lake Worth, we believe that your oral care should never take a backseat to the other things in your life. If you’d like to come in to talk to a dentist about anything that you’re worried about, give us a call and arrange an appointment today. We’re here to help, not to judge.