Dental Considerations for Younger Teenagers
Dental care for a teenager creates some special considerations because it’s the time when a child begins their transformation into an adult. They’re already going through massive bodily and social changes, so it’s also a time when they’re acutely aware of their appearance, combined with the energy of youth, which makes them feel ‘the invincibility of being a teenager,’ as one mom of a teenager put it.
This is the first of a two-part series on teenagers and their dental needs and concerns, and ways we can help them successfully navigate their dental requirements during the final years of childhood and early years of adulthood.
Today we’re going to talk about some of the dental problems and processes of younger teens.
Some teens are still wearing braces or finally wearing braces for the first time. Braces present unique cleaning needs and can make a teen self-conscious about their appearance. Encourage your teen to be diligent about their dental care and convey the attitude that braces are only temporary, but that the resulting smile will benefit them for years.
Teen hormones often result in inflammation or gingivitis during puberty. As a result, a child who has never had dental problems in the past can suddenly develop them. Meticulous oral care can reverse teen gingivitis with brushing, flossing, and an oral rinse recommended by your dentist.
Teen sports injuries are a common occurrence without proper mouth guards. Our teens are active people, sometimes engage in daredevil activities, and may use their teeth as scissors or other tools. Encourage your teen to enjoy sports with a mouth guard and keep scissors accessible in a variety of places available for opening packages. Also, don’t let them ever catch you using your teeth as a tool, as even independent teenagers still secretly consider you a role model.
Since teens can be sensitive about their appearance, they may ask for whitening treatments. Professional whitening is faster, safer, and more effective option than over-the-counter treatments, so if your teen wants their teeth whitened, you may want to have the procedure performed by a dentist to prevent gum or enamel damage.
More teens than ever before have a phenomenal grasp of the importance of proper nutrition, healthy eating habits and the effects of food on their body. They also have access and are encouraged by advertising and peer pressure to enjoy salty snacks, sweet coffee drinks, and fast food. Since we, as adults, also succumb to advertising, we understand how easy it is for them to do the same, so having nutritious offerings on hand for teens to enjoy is one of the options we can use to help them eat right during their last growth spurt.
Teens also have very active lives, combined with the disturbed-biological-clock sleep patterns common in teens: they stay up late into the night and then sleep late the next day. This makes a commitment to excellent dental care a little more difficult than previous or even future years.
In our next blog, we’ll discuss the unique dental needs and considerations for older teens.
If you need a gentle, caring dental team for your teen or yourself, please call our office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best dental care we can!