Growing a healthy, adult smile takes a lot of work and maintenance, but your teenager can earn a healthy mouth by avoiding some the greatest threats to teen teeth.
1 – Cavities
Cavities are the most prevalent disease affecting children and teens in the United States, but cavities are nearly 100% preventable. Your teen can fight cavities by avoiding eating and drinking too much sugar, adding high fiber fruits and vegetables to their diet, and brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time and flossing once per day. In addition to a proper oral care routine, your teen should have an oral health checkup every six months in our office so that we can help them navigate growing a healthy, adult smile.
2 – Sports Injuries
The CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events. Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of breaking teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries.
Without a mouth guard, young athletes are susceptible to jaw damage, lacerated lips and tongue, broken teeth, and even concussions. If your child is playing any contact sport, then buy them a mouth guard that will provide adequate protection for their sport. If you’re unsure, just check online too see if their sport requires – or even suggests – using a mouth guard to prevent an injury.
3 – Tobacco and Nicotine
90% of adult smokers began smoking as teens, and each day more than 3,200 Americans younger than 18 try their first cigarette. Tobacco use harms teeth and health in many ways. It can lead to oral cancer, periodontal disease, delayed healing after oral procedure, bad breath, stained teeth and gums and damage the ability to smell and taste. The health risks related to tobacco use are serious, and negative oral side effects are chilling. Unfortunately, teen use of e-cigarettes and nicotine vaporizers is on the rise, and they’re also terrible for teeth.
Most studies find that teens that are actively discouraged from smoking, or that live in an environment where smoking is not normalized, are less likely to use tobacco as an adult, so encourage your children to stay away from all nicotine and tobacco products.
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