As teenagers gain their independence they are more likely to neglect their dental hygiene while munching and slurping on sugary snacks. Teenagers are at an increased risk of dental disease compared to younger children in Australia, which is of real concern as most people have their adult teeth by the age of 12. Here are three dental problems your teenager is at risk from.
1. Bleeding gums. As the hormones in your child's body begin to surge, they will experience a greater blood flow which means they are more likely to suffer from bleeding gums. Mix these hormones with the exciting changes happening in your teen's life and they may forget to clean their teeth properly. This can result in gum disease, which isn't very attractive. If your teen has bleeding, sore or puffy gums, the best solution is to clean them with a soft brush twice a day. Using floss and mouth wash can also help to speed up the healing process.
2. Dehydration. This might be the age when your child throws themselves into a sport. Or perhaps they spend too long in front of the computer or their smartphone. Either way, they may not be drinking enough water or could be forgetting to drink altogether. As the body becomes dehydrated, it is not able to produce enough saliva to protect and naturally clean the teeth. This can leave the mouth open to infection and tooth decay, not to mention that dehydration can have negative effects on the rest of your child's developing body.
Try to remind your teen to drink plenty of water in the morning, before and after sport and in between any soft drinks they may be guzzling while they play computer games. If this proves difficult, encourage them to drink water with their main meal as they spend time with their family.
3. Lip and tongue piercings. While these can look good, they can play havoc with your teeth, tongue and gums. If your teen is determined to get a piercing, help them do the research to make sure they get it done in a hygienic and safe place. Instruments should be sterilised before each use. Lip and tongue jewellery can chip away at teeth and the enamel, and gum lines can be made sore as the jewellery rubs against it. Damage can also be done if a piercing is accidentally bitten on while eating.
Good dental hygiene will be required during the healing process and while the jewellery is in place to reduce the risk of infection. Special care should be given the areas that the jewellery comes into contact with. If you can, try to convince your teen to position their piercing away from direct contact with the gum line or teeth.
The teenage years can be difficult and daunting, but with some guidance and a helping hand, dental problems need not worry you or your child. For more tips, contact a specialist like Beaufort Street Dental Centre.