Teen Oral Health
Teenagers can be tough on their teeth. They may be so busy with school, jobs, athletics and social activities that it’s difficult to find time to brush. They also tend to eat a lot of junk food. Combine the two and you’ve got a situation ripe for dental decay. Not surprisingly, this is the time when many children develop a lot of cavities. Here are a few tips to help you get your child through the teen years cavity free: If you are a parent, talk (and talk and talk) to your teenager and encourage him or her to take good care of his or her teeth. This means brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Teenagers care a lot about how they look. Help your child understand that bad oral hygiene contributes to teeth stains, bad breath, missing teeth and an assortment of other dental problems. Set a good example. If your teenager sees that you take good care of your teeth, it will reinforce that good oral hygiene is important to you. Your talks and warnings will not seem hypocritical and will carry greater weight. Have plenty of oral health-care supplies on hand for your teen to use. Keep soft toothbrushes, colored or flavored floss (or plastic flossers) and good-tasting toothpaste out in the bathroom and even in the kitchen for them to use when they are in a hurry. Don’t buy junk food. Instead, keep lots of fruits and vegetables in the house for snacking.
Your smile is important
If you are a teenager reading this, you might not be thinking much of your smile or your teeth (or perhaps you are)- which ever the case, you should be doing your best to try and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Do you really want to be spoken about or remembered for the wrong reasons such as:
- Halitosis ie bad breath
- Tooth decay
- Tooth disease
- Erosion and damage to the teeth
Whilst you probably don’t want to be remembered or stand our from the rest for any of the above, you probably also don’t want too many trips to the dentists, extractions, cleanings, fillings and a host of other treatments us dentists carry out which are not exactly on anyone’s wish list. Whatever, the case, you will need a dentists at some point but what treatments your dentists will need to carry out on your teeth also depend on how well you look after them (there are of course other factors such as genetics which determine how strong and healthy our teeth are).
Smoking and your teeth
Smoking can cause a lot of short terms as well as long term damage. Besides discolouring and staining to the teeth, it can cause gum disease and loss of teeth. If you were ever concerned about bad breath, smokers always suffer from bad breath – no getting around this one. Chewing gum, mints and all other tactics you may think are successful at masking the smell do far from a perfect job at it. Try not to smoke.
The drinks you choose
Most teenagers enjoy soft drinks and sugared drinks. Everything is fine in moderation – and moderation means ideally not more than a small bottle a day, whether you opt for sugar-free or not. With soft drinks, it is not only the high sugar content which is highly damaging but also the phosphoric acid which is one of the ingredients in soft drinks. By the way, this one-a-day guideline refers to one of any sugared drinks whether a soft drink or a fruit juice or a smoothie. You definitely should not have 1 of each.
Snacks and snacking isn’t all bad
This all depends what you snack on. Since we are here concerned with your oral health, we wont go into how food affects your waist line, liver etc. Sugar snacks should definitely be avoided especially if you are opting for a juice or sugared drink or even some yogurts (these can be shockingly high in sugar). Some good snacks you can have include:
- Plain popcorn
- Rice cakes/ oat cakes
- Raw vegetables
HPV and teenagers
HPV or Human Papillomavirus is fairly common and some strains are sexually transmitted even through oral sex. In woman, it is the main cause of cervical cancer. Reducing your chances of HPV can be done by limiting your partners, practicing safe sex or abstaining altogether. Teenage girls are sometimes offered a vaccine for HPV – the vaccine only offers protection against the most common strains of the virus so taking the vaccine does not mean you cannot get HPV. Talk to a doctor should you have any concerns and questions.
besides the fact that there are several strains of virus