Dental Care for Teens
As a parent, it’s easy to monitor your kids’ teeth when they are younger, but it can get tricky when they become more independent as teenagers. Teenagers have so many things going on in their lives and they may not give much importance to their dental health as they should. But, it’s still important to be able to take care of their teeth and gums, so they can maintain a healthy mouth as they grow up.
Caring for your teen’s dental health generally follows the same best practices as for kids, but maybe with some modifications. In this post, we’ll discuss how teens can take care of their dental health and maintain a good smile.
Reminding your teen about the importance of dental health
As parents, it’s good to educate and remind teenagers that part of keeping their overall health in good shape is to take care of their dental health. According to the CDC, not taking care of our mouths may increase our risk of developing certain conditions or other health complications like diabetes and heart disease. 
If they love to eat sugary foods and drinks but don’t take care of their teeth regularly, the harmful acids that are produced by bacteria and sugar can erode their tooth enamel. Dental erosion happens when the tooth enamel is worn away. Their teeth darken and may feel sensitive.
Brushing and flossing
The most basic thing they can do is to keep a good dental routine at home. Brushing twice and flossing once a day can protect their teeth from cavities. Your teen can brush their teeth during the day and before bedtime using a soft or medium-bristles toothbrush and pea-sized toothpaste. It’s good to use toothpaste with fluoride, and mouthwash after brushing.
The growth of the Wisdom Teeth
The wisdom teeth are the teeth in the backmost part of our mouths. It is also called the third molar. For some people, their wisdom teeth start growing during their teenage years. They can grow between the ages of 17 to 21. 
Wisdom teeth can sometimes grow in the wrong position and are impacted. It may feel painful and cause an infection. It may also damage the teeth next to it. If this happens, the dentist may ask for your wisdom teeth to be removed. For this reason, teens should continue to see their dentist regularly so the dentist can check the growth of their wisdom teeth and see problems early.
Sage Dental and Spa provides quality dental care for teens in Wall Township, NJ. Feel free to call us to learn more about our services.
Living a healthy lifestyle
Encourage your teen to live a healthy lifestyle by avoiding too much sugar and acidic food and drinks. Too much sugar and acidic food can cause dental erosion. Instead, you can try to stock up on less sugary snacks that teenagers can eat at home such as breadsticks, fresh fruits, nuts, and plain bagels.
It’s also good to educate your teen about the negative effects of developing bad habits like smoking and drinking. At this stage in their lives, teenagers always want to try out new things. Sometimes, they get peer-pressured to do so. Bad habits such as drinking too much alcohol, smoking tobacco, or trying out drugs can start. And these can have a detrimental effect not just on their teeth but on their overall health.
Smoking can make teeth look yellow, give you bad breath, and lead you to other health complications. Drinking alcohol can put you at risk of mouth cancer. Some alcoholic drinks also contain a lot of sugar, which can be bad for your teeth. Taking different kinds of drugs has different effects. Smoking cannabis has the same effects as smoking tobacco and other problems.
Nutrition Tips for Teens
Because they are young, many teens don’t think about eating healthy meals and snacks. If they’re likely to eat something sweet, it’s best to take sweets together with meals so there is less exposure to sugar in their teeth. Aside from that, eating a balanced diet is still the best way for teens to get all the nutrients they need for their growing bodies.
Here are nutrition tips from the American Dental Association for teens to eat and snack healthy.
- A balanced diet includes whole grains, dairy foods, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables
- Whole grains include oatmeal and whole wheat bread
- Opt for dairy products that are low-fat or fat-free
- Opt for lean proteins such as fish, beans, and eggs
- Limit drinking sweetened beverages and soda
- If you need to chew gum, find a sugarless gum or one that has earned the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on the packaging
- Avoid taking sweets as snacks
Taking care of teen’s braces
Some teens have dental braces to straighten their teeth and improve the way their teeth work. Some use braces for a few months while others use them for years. Teens who use braces to correct their teeth need to give extra care because braces make it harder to clean their teeth.
Your orthodontist may ask you to brush your teeth after every meal. You may also need to use a special toothbrush such as an interdental brush to clean in between your teeth and braces. You may need to visit your orthodontist every month for monitoring.
The risk of having mouth jewelry
Mouth jewelry is the practice of placing any piercings in or around your mouth. Some teens are interested in having mouth piercings because they may look cool. However, these piercings are not recommended by doctors because they can have bad effects on one’s health.
If you have mouth piercings, there’s a high chance that you could develop an infection. Mouth piercings can also be difficult to care for. You will often need to rinse with saline solution or mouthwash. You will also need to remove your piercings from time to time to clean them well. If not properly cleaned, bad bacteria may enter your bloodstream.
Protecting your teenager's teeth while playing risky sports
Teenagers who are into sports should use a mouth protector to keep their teeth from damage. There are a lot of mouth protectors you can choose from. You can buy readily available ones from a store, or you can ask the dentist to create a custom-fit mouth protector for you.
Custom-fit can be a bit pricey but they do a better job at protecting your teeth while providing you comfort. Those bought in the store may feel bulky and usually don’t fit very well.
Teens are independent enough to take care of their teeth, but it still helps to monitor their dental care. Healthy dental care for teens includes brushing and flossing daily, using interdental brushes for teens with braces, using mouth wash, avoiding too much sugar, and continuing to visit the dentist to monitor their teeth.
Visit our dentistry
Looking for high-quality dental care for teens? Sage Dental and Spa in Wall Township, NJ is accepting new and existing patients! Our dentist, Dr. Avi Israeli will be happy to assist you. Call for your consultation!