When it comes to oral health, adolescence is a pivotal time for Lansdale youth. The last of the permanent teeth come in, providing young men and women with their “adult smile.” Good habits can be forged and reinforced. Teeth can be straightened with orthodontia, providing increased confidence when it is often sorely needed.
Not all teenagers take care of their teeth, however. Some youth practice habits that are dangerous to their teeth. Adolescents often don’t understand the importance of proper dental hygiene and how it impacts lifelong oral health. Teenage tooth decay can cause recurring dental issues in later years.
Eating disorders are far too common among area youth. Bulimia can cause enamel erosion, decay, and even complete tooth loss. We strongly recommend parents to intervene immediately and seek appropriate medical care if they suspect their teen has an eating disorder.
The importance of diet cannot be overstated. Adolescence is a time when many young adults decrease their calcium intake – a danger to both bones and teeth. The consumption of energy drinks and sugared soda also contribute to tooth and gum problems in teenagers.
In addition, teenagers who use tobacco and illegal drugs have an increased risk of cavities and oral cancer. Oral piercings can be extremely dangerous. The health risks include tooth and gum damage, infection, allergic reactions, nerve damage, and excessive swelling that can block airways.
Teens who are undergoing orthodontic treatment often have a difficult time properly cleaning their teeth. It is a challenge to fit toothbrush bristles and floss under dental hardware. Toothbrushes and flossing devices that squirt water can help adolescents with braces adequately clean their teeth and gums.
Black & Bass Cosmetic and Family Dentistry advises parents to make sure their adolescents receive twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings. Drs. Kevin Bass and Lawrence Black can identify and treat oral issues in their early stages so that further damage can be prevented or minimized.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following essential guidelines for adolescent oral health:
Teens should drink fluoridated water.
Fluoride supplementation is recommended for high risk teens that don’t have access to fluoridated water (up to age 16).
Teens should use fluoridated toothpaste twice a day.
Teens should floss daily.1
To schedule an intensive teen dental examination and cleaning, call Black & Bass Cosmetic and Family Dentistry at 215-368-1424. Our team of calm and comfortable dental professionals is passionate about oral health for patients of all ages.
1“Protecting All Children’s Teeth, Oral Health in Adolescence,” http://www2.aap.org/oralhealth/pact/, accessed September 17, 2014
Contact Black & Bass Cosmetic and Family Dentistry: 215-368-1424
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