Teens should be sure to see their dentist at least twice a year. Regular dental visits can help catch minor problems before they become major ones! When your teen is already busy with friends, schoolwork and catching up on sleep, proper oral hygiene can go on the back burner. When running late for school, sometimes there just isn’t time for a full two minutes of toothbrushing. But as a parent, it’s up to you to make sure that your teen practices good dental care. By making oral hygiene part of a simple daily routine, you can help your teen sneak in regular brushing and flossing along with all the other plans in his or her schedule.
Should I limit drinking soda?
YES! Whether at school, home or on the weekends, teens are drinking more soda than they have in the past. In 1977, 12 to 19-year-olds drank 16 ounces of soda a day. In 1996, this same age group consumed an average of 28 ounces a day. Not only is sugar harmful to teeth, acidic flavor additives can also erode and damage tooth enamel. There are simple ways you can limit the harmful effects of sodas. Try sipping soda through a straw. It cuts down on the contact the beverage has with your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda. It can also reduce the risk of cavities.
Why should I avoid oral piercings?
Tongue piercing remains a teen trend, however it is not always a healthy choice for your mouth. People chip teeth on tongue piercings while eating, sleeping, talking and chewing on the jewelry. Tongue piercing commonly causes fractured teeth. The fracture can be confined to tooth enamel and require a filling, or it may go deeper; in which case, can cause a need for a root canal or extraction.
Infections are also common with oral piercings, and they cause more than pain. A tongue can swell after being punctured, however in some cases the tongue becomes infected and swells so much that it may cut off breathing. Unclean piercing equipment can cause other infections, such as bloodborne hepatitis.
Why should I make time for healthy habits?
Quick meals in the form of “nutrition” bars and fast food help keep you alert and on schedule between school, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. However, today’s fast-paced lifestyle threatens to leave the teen generation with permanent damage to oral and overall health. You can keep travel-size brushes in lockers or back packs. Chewing sugarless gum with xylitol after meals or snacks can also help cleanse your mouth. Drinking water throughout the day can help clean your teeth of excess bacteria and food debris.
When should I make an Appointment
Today… Whether it’s the first tooth or the first birthday—no matter which happens first—it’s time for your child’s first dentist appointment! Your dentist will examine your child’s mouth and advise you on any concerns you have, such as thumbsucking. If you are having trouble brushing your child’s teeth, your dentist can show you a few methods to ensure you are doing a thorough job. Regular exams are essential to your child’s oral health so be sure to keep regular appointments with your child’s dentist.
Has your child seen a dentist?
Taking your child to the dentist at an early age is the best way to prevent oral health problems. A trip to the dentist also can educate you on how to properly care for your child’s teeth and to identify his or her dental needs. Early visits will help to familiarize your child with the dental office, too, which helps to reduce anxiety and fear, and make visits more stress-free in the future.
Can tooth decay affect infants?
Yes. Tooth decay in infants and young children most often occurs in the upper front teeth. This decay, commonly referred to as “baby bottle tooth decay,” is caused by prolonged exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. Your dentist can tell you more about what you can do to help prevent the development of this condition.
When should my child first see a dentist?
The ideal time is six months after your child’s first (primary) teeth erupt or by the child’s first birthday. This time frame is the perfect opportunity for the dentist to carefully examine the development of your child’s mouth. Your dentist may even provide or recommend special preventive care to thwart oral health problems.
How can I protect my child’s oral health?
Parents should provide their child’s oral hygiene care until the child is old enough to take responsibility for the daily routine of brushing and flossing. A proper regimen of preventive home care is important from the day your child is born. To help prevent tooth decay, talk to your dentist and follow the tips below:
- Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.
- As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water. If you are considering using toothpaste before your child’s second birthday, ask your dentist first.
- To avoid teeth misalignment due to sucking, monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers, fingers, and thumbs.
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice, or sweetened liquids.
- Avoid filling your child’s bottle with liquids like sugar water and soft drinks.
- Encourage children to drink tap or fountain water. If you purchase bottled water, make sure that it is fluoridated. Fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization.
- Find out if your public water supply is fluoridated. If it is not, your dentist or your physician may prescribe fluoride supplements.
- To build self-confidence, encourage the child to brush his or her own teeth when he or she is old enough. Always monitor the child’s brushing technique and thoroughness to ensure proper technique.
- The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.