Our team understands that life for the typical teenager in America is hectic! However, maintaining good oral hygiene is important and should be built into their daily routines. Teenagers should see the dentist twice a year and should brush and floss daily. Appearance, fresh breath, and straight teeth may become increasingly important to your teenager. Crooked, stained, or decayed teeth can be embarrassing, especially during adolescence, so our dentist can take corrective measures to improve their smiles. In addition, we recognize that specific factors, such as sports drinks, tobacco products, and oral piercings, can also impact teenagers’ oral health. We are equipped to handle a variety of teenage dental concerns. Contact our Clearwater, FL practice today to find out more or schedule a consultation with us.
The Dangers of Sports Drinks and Soft Drinks
If your teen becomes more active in athletics, he or she will likely consume sports drinks on and off the playing field. In addition, many teenagers drink sodas and other sweet, carbonated drinks throughout the day. Unfortunately, sports drinks and soft drinks can be extremely harmful to teeth. They are typically very high in sugar and are often acidic, meaning they could erode your teen’s enamel. Even low-sugar diet sodas tend to be very acidic, meaning they can wear down the teeth and increase the risk for decay. Teenagers should minimize their consumption of these types of beverages.
In recent years, oral piercings have become increasingly popular. However, this mouth jewelry can have serious effects on the mouth and teeth. Common symptoms after oral piercings include swelling, discomfort, and infection. Some patients even experience blood clotting in the tongue tissue, leading to further inflammation. In addition, patients who pierce their lips, tongue, or any other region of their mouth may have difficulty speaking or drool. Even after the piercing heals, it can be quite damaging. Repeated contact with the jewelry piece can chip, crack, or fracture the teeth. In short, the often permanent and painful damage that tongue rings and other oral piercings can cause is not worth the “cool” factor of having them.
No matter how old you are, using tobacco products can be extremely harmful to your health. According to the American Dental Association, “Smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop oral cancers. Smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco) is associated with cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips, increasing the risk by about 50 times.” If your teenager is using tobacco, it is vital that they discontinue use immediately! Oral cancer treatments are often invasive and painful, altering your appearance and ability to speak, eat, and live normally. Our dentist screens for early signs of oral cancer at each preventive care appointment.
Teenagers are at an increased risk for developing eating disorders. Bulimia can cause dental damage as the stomach acid comes in contact with the teeth. Bulimics typically have frequent cavities, browning of the teeth, and thinning of tooth enamel. If your teenager suffers from an eating disorder, our dentist can address the oral health concerns relating to this condition and refer him or her to a qualified professional for more comprehensive treatment.
Since they can cause crowding, are often impacted (meaning that they grow in at an improper angle), and can be prone to decay because they are difficult to clean, our dentist often recommends removing teenagers’ wisdom teeth, or third molars. If your child requires an extraction, we will refer you to a qualified oral surgeon for further evaluation.
Dental injuries are the most common form of injury to the face. Nearly half of all dental injuries can be prevented by the use of a mouth guard, a plastic appliance worn over the teeth to shield them. We suggest using mouth guards during activities involving falls, risk of head contact with equipment, and contact sports. Our dentist can create a custom mouth guard for your teenager.