But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), tooth decay remains a problem in U.S. children, especially teenagers. Surveys reveal that among teenagers aged 12 to 19 years, 58 percent had one or more cavities in their adult teeth. No surprise given that as teens become more independent their brushing habits and diets change in ways that contribute put them at greater risk for tooth decay.
Other oral issues that might be of concern for teens as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood are braces, wisdom teeth, the cosmetic appearance of their teeth and bad breath. Also, there is a higher prevalence of gingivitis among teens, which may be caused by an increase in sex hormones during puberty. Gingivitis, which causes red, inflamed and bloody gum tissue, is reversible with proper brushing, flossing and the use of an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
Despite the association of cigarettes with cancer, many teens still experiment with smoking. Remind your teen that smoking not only increases the risk of oral cancer, but also stains the teeth, dulls the sense of taste and smell, invites gum disease and even tooth loss.
Following are some basic habits that will help teens achieve and maintain a healthy mouth and attractive smile:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes
- Floss between your teeth daily
- Avoid sugary and starchy snacks, including sugary beverages
- Protect your teeth with a mouthguard when playing sports
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid piercings on your lips or any part of your mouth
Encourage your teen to continue the good oral habits you taught them as children and to keep up with routine dental visits. Dr. Douglas Angell and the staff at Angell’s Dentistry are committed to helping your teen maintain a healthy mouth and a great smile. Give us a call to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive dental checkup. Be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com to learn more about us.