Health & Wellness

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Tooth-Care Tips for Teens

Teenagers have a lot on their minds
these days — high school, dating and
homework are only a few things they
constantly think about. Oral health
is usually not on the top of their list when
they make the transition from childhood to
adulthood. Because they are busy with school,
jobs, sports and social activities — plus eating a
lot of unhealthy food — they’ve got the perfect
combination that can lead to dental problems,
such as cavities.
When good oral habits are established early
in childhood, it gives teens a better opportunity
to enjoy a nice smile and healthy teeth. Here
are a few tips to help your teen keep cavity-free:
1 Encourage your teenager to take good
care of his or her teeth, which includes
brushing at least twice a day and flossing
daily. Teenagers are very conscious about
their appearance. Reiterate that if good oral
hygiene is not maintained, it can lead to
stains, bad breath, missing teeth and many
other dental problems.
2 Setting a good example is very important.
If you are diligent in maintaining your oral
health, your teenager will realize this, and
your talks will not seem hypocritical and
will carry greater weight.
3 Have oral health-care supplies on hand.
Keep soft toothbrushes, flavoured floss
and good-tasting toothpaste out in the
bathroom. You can even keep them in the
kitchen for quick use when teens are in a
hurry.
4 Don’t buy junk food. Fruits and
vegetables should be kept on hand and
easily accessible for snacking.
5 Talk to your teens about the dangers of
smoking and the oral health hazards
it can cause. In addition, some teens
are presented with social pressures to
start smoking or get oral piercings.
It is important for parents to present
the dangers, so their teens know the
consequences of their choices.
Taking care of your teeth means
protecting them at all times. Depending
on where you are and what you’re doing,
certain steps can help prevent injury.
Playing Sports
Because of the very nature of certain
sports — especially football, hockey,
baseball and basketball — the Canadian
Dental Association recommends wearing
a mouth protector or mouth guard. These
devices typically cover the upper teeth
and can help cushion a blow to the face,
minimizing the risk of broken teeth and
injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth.
Mouth guards can also reduce the risk
of teeth getting chipped or knocked out
during play or practice and help protect
the teeth, lips, tongue, face and jaw.
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
If your dental hygiene wasn’t the best
before you got braces on, it’s time to step
up your game. Taking care of your teeth
and gums becomes extra important when
you wear braces, and caring for them
means taking the time to brush your
teeth and floss regularly. Use a toothbrush
with a soft-bristled head, toothpaste with
fluoride, and be gentle when you brush
and floss to remove food debris and
dental plaque from between your teeth
and gums, and from the brackets of the
braces.
Here are some extra tips:
1 Brush and floss after meals to help
get rid of food jammed between your
teeth or in the wiring of your braces
and on the brackets.
2 Be gentle with the floss. Using a floss
threader, thread the floss through the
threader, carefully place it over the
braces’ wire and then place it between
two teeth. Make a “C” shape around
the tooth, and push-pull it to remove
plaque and food debris at or below the
gum line.
3 Skip any sticky, chewy or hard foods,
such as caramels or gummy candy and
popcorn or hard pretzels, and be sure
to avoid crunching on ice.
4 Teens who bite their nails, or chew
pens, can damage their braces quite
easily.
Team Approach to Good Health
We provide a professional, sensitive
and caring approach to preventive dental
health care that is needed throughout the
teen years. Drs. Kanani, Chadha and their
staff look forward to being important
members of your health team.
If you have questions about oral
piercings, wisdom teeth, missing teeth
or any other oral health concerns, please
talk to one of our team members. We will
gladly give you more information.