When it comes to dental health, your family dentist thinks the adolescent years are an extremely important time. Healthy brushing and flossing must be established by this time, and it is ever more important to encourage healthy eating habits as your child makes more choices for himself. Below are a few more dental health tips to keep your teen’s smile healthy.
Braces One rite of passage for many adolescents is the silver-tinged smile that comes with wearing braces. Braces can be used to move and straighten teeth, widen or relocate jaws, and align the way the teeth bite together. If your teen has braces, be sure to provide the appropriate brushing and flossing equipment so that he can keep his teeth and braces clean. During this time, encourage your child to be diligent about oral health, and to speak up immediately if something feels wrong with his braces. Also, remember that braces can be painful – keep that in mind when planning meals or dealing with a moody teen.
Dental Sealants Once your child has all of his or her adult molars (which usually occurs in the preteen years), your family dentist may recommend applying sealants to those molars. The sealant is a white plastic material that is simply painted onto the natural grooves on the chewing surface of the molars. It takes moments for the sealant to harden, but it is recommended that hard or sticky foods be avoided for 24 hours. There is no drilling or pain involved with applying sealants.
Dental sealants can cut your child’s risk of developing cavities by up to 70%, and can protect your child’s dental health for up to 10 years. Also, most dental insurance plans cover sealant application for children.
Mouth Guards If your adolescent child has taken up a sport or two, your family dentist says that it’s imperative that she wear a mouth guard during practices and games. If she takes a hit to the mouth, the mouth guard will absorb the worst of the hit and lessen any damage to her teeth. Wearing a mouth guard is especially important if your child wears braces. Mouth guards are affordable and widely available at drug and sport shops.
The adolescent years can be a roller coaster, but oral health must be a primary concern during this important period of your child’s growth and development. If you have any questions about your adolescent’s oral health, contact your family dentist by calling 614-864-7731. We are happy to make an appointment for you and address your concerns.