Adolescence & Oral Care
There is evidence that demonstrates how periodontal disease may increase during adolescence due to lack of motivation to practice oral hygiene. Children who maintain good oral health habits up until the teen years are more likely to continue brushing and flossing than children who were not taught proper oral care.
Advice For Parents
Early diagnosis is important for successful treatment of periodontal diseases. Therefore, it is important that children receive a periodontal examination as part of their routine dental visits. Be aware that if your child has an advanced form of periodontal disease, this may be an early sign of systemic disease. A general medical evaluation should be considered for children who exhibit severe periodontitis, especially if it appears resistant to therapy.
An important step in the fight against periodontal disease is to establish good oral health habits with your child early. When your child is about a year old, you can begin using toothpaste when brushing their teeth. However, only use a pea-sized portion on the brush and press it into the bristles so your child won’t eat it. And, when the gaps between your child’s teeth close, it’s important to start flossing.
Serve as a good role model by practicing good oral health care habits yourself and schedule regular dental visits for family check-ups, periodontal evaluations, and cleanings.
Check your child’s mouth for the signs of periodontal disease, including bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums, gums that are receding away from the teeth, and bad breath.
If your child currently has poor oral health habits, work with your child to change these now. It’s much easier to modify these habits in a child than in an adult. Since your child models behavior after you, it follows that you should serve as a positive role model in your oral hygiene habits. A healthy smile, good breath, and strong teeth all contribute to a young person’s sense of personal appearance, as well as confidence and self-esteem.
It’s no secret that teens’ eating habits can include soda, fruit drinks, candies, snacks, and fast food. Every day, you make crucial decisions about what to eat or drink and when to do so; by now, you’ve probably been told many times that eating patterns directly affect not only your overall health but your oral health as well.
Eating habits tied to good oral health include eating fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of milk and water. These contain less of the sugar that bacteria need to create cavities. Also, try to eat sugary foods only with a large meal.
Constant snacking increases these bacterial levels dramatically in your mouth. These bacteria in turn release acids as they consume the sugars that remain in your mouth after a snack. The acids produced by the bacteria destroy little bits of your enamel, and eventually a cavity forms.
Here’s a quick review of the simple steps you can take to avoid problems:
- EAT WELL. Include fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese and nuts in your diet. Also, water, water and more water!
- Snack less and always rinse with water afterward.
- Brush your teeth twice daily and floss prior to bedtime. (If you can text, you should have the skills to be an expert flosser!)
- Keep up with re-care appointments in our office every six months. Routine cleanings and regular fluoride varnish treatments are the keys to a great preventive program. We can also advise you on the right toothbrushes, toothpaste, tooth gels and fluoride rinse.
When it comes to your teeth and oral health, what you do (or don’t do) now will affect you the rest of your life!