Dentistry for Teens
|Practicing good nutrition and dental hygiene are especially important
during the teenage years, when healthy habits can be established for
Children normally receive encouragement and help from parents to build healthy oral hygiene habits, but teenagers are often left to their own devices when it comes to dental health. This independence, coupled with a teen's busy lifestyle, can lead to a less-than-healthy oral hygiene routine. What's more, teens also tend to drink more soda and eat more sugary snacks than younger children, and these foods can contribute to tooth decay and cavities. Practicing good nutrition and dental hygiene are especially important during the teenage years, when healthy habits can be established for life.
It is important that parents and dentists educate teens on the necessity of brushing at least twice a day and flossing once daily. Infrequent brushing can lead to periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay, both of which could lead to tooth loss. A recent study shows that bleeding gums, the first sign of periodontal disease, are most prevalent among adolescents: in fact, nearly 75 percent of teens have gums that bleed. To ensure a healthy smile for life, teens need to use a fluoride toothpaste when they brush and they should visit the dentist twice yearly for a thorough examination of the teeth and gums.
In addition to regular visits to the dentist for check-ups, teens often have unique dental needs. Many teenagers undergo orthodontic treatment, and it is important that they use special orthodontic toothbrushes to ensure proper cleaning of teeth and appliances. Also, teens often become active in contact sports, and should be fitted with a custom-made mouth guard to protect against dental injuries. Another dental issue common to teenagers is impacted wisdom teeth that require removal. A qualified dentist or dental hygienist can work with teens to help them develop good dental care habits, and evaluate the need for such treatments as orthodontics or wisdom tooth removal.
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