Healthy Mouth Healthy Body

Concerns Unique To Teens

  • Crooked Teeth and Braces

Appearance does really matter for teens that can help them to boost their self-esteem and confidence. Having a great smile is really important for teenagers and for that teens need good quality teeth. However, crooked teeth and braces can make teens feel unattractive and lower their confidence and self-esteem. Crooked teeth and braces can also make it difficult for teens to clean their teeth which may further lead to tooth decay, gum problems and tooth loss.

Braces are important because they straighten up the teeth and ensure that you have a great smile. However, teens are not always in the favor of using braces because they make them look unattractive. Today, there are many alternatives available like tooth-coloured plastic braces that are available in wide range of colour. Removable clear retainers can also be used along with invisible retainers that ensure that the overall appearance is not impacted. Orthodontics is a specialist form of dentistry that aims to straighten up teeth for a beautiful smile and properly aligned teeth. The entire treatment usually last 18 months and the type of brace depends on the treatment required.

  • Fixed Braces

Often referred as “train tracks” fixed braces are usually metal coloured or tooth coloured brackets through which a wire runs to pull the teeth in the right position. Initially, it may feel strange, as the brackets might rub against the inside of your lips and cheeks and there might be certain amount of pain in the jaw. However, your orthodontist can provide you with wax or painkillers to resolve your problems. Teens can eat regular food, but should avoid certain food items like toffees, crusty breads, cheewy sweets and hard food items. It is important that you take care of your teeth with braces as they might become permanently stained. Your dentist might also add elastic bands to increase the pressure on certain teeth.

  • Retainers

After teens have removed fixed braces they can continue using retainers that ensure that the teeth do not move to original position. You can wear retainers for around six months especially during night time to keep you teeth in the right position.

IDA recommends brushing teeth regularly twice a day with flouride toothpaste. You can consume healthy diet, but ensure that you do not consume sugary food and drinks that can damage your teeth while you wear the retainer. You should also clean the retainer to get rid of any food particles on it. Wear retainers for maximum hours of the day, or as recommended by the dentist to get better results.

  • Mouthguards

Losing teeth early in teen years can have a psychological impact and therefore it is important that you protect it well. Mouthguards also known as mouth cushions are plastic appliances that can minimize the risk of broken teeth and prevent from injuries to lips, faces, tongue and jaws. Mouthguards are usually used by sports people when they are involved in sporting activities or by people when they are doing recreation activities. While mouthguards are available in the market, the best mouthguards are the one that is custom-designed by your dentist. This ensures that the mouthguard fits your mouth properly and that it is not loose and will not fall off when you are in the middle of your activity.

IDA recommends:

- Wearing a mouthguard while playing sports

- Using a custom-made mouthguard to get maximum protection

How to Take Care of Your Mouthguard?

- Rinse or brush the mouthguard each time before and after use

- Check for any damages regularly. If damaged, replace it

- Carry it along well in a secure box that has vents

- Never expose it to sunlight or hot water

  • Dental Emergencies

Accidents can happen anytime and at any place and therefore you need to ensure that you take care of yourself. If there are any dental emergencies you need to take your teen immediately to the dentist.

  • Mouth Sores

Mouth sores are caused by multiple reasons. However, if they are caused by new braces you can apply a topical anesthetic and take acetaminophen as mentioned on the label or instructed by the dentist.

  • Erosion

Erosion is a loss of enamel of the tooth generally caused by an acid attack. While erosion sounds like tooth decay it is different because it is caused by an acid attack and not by a bacterial attack. Erosion of the enamel can expose the tooth to various dental problems led by foods and drinks. On the other hand, erosion is a slow process and therefore not many people are aware about it until significant amount of enamel is lost. It often shows up as a hollow on the top surface of the molar teeth and the teeth becomes thinner as the enamel erodes the tooth.

How to Prevent Erosion?

- Consume less acidic food and drinks.

- Don’t hold your drinks in the mouth for a long time

- Finish your meal with a cheese or a milk-based drink to cut down or neutralize dietary acids

- Wait for an hour after the meal to brush your teeth. Brushing right after the meal can lead to more damage to    the enamel.

  • Oral Piercing

Fashion is all about experimenting with oneself and many teenagers around the globe prefer oral piercings that make them look and feel good, but it also affects their health and is not entirely safe. There are side effects of oral piercings that teenagers and even adults do not consider. Oral infections can lead to long term wounds and side effects and can lead to bleeding and transmission of certain diseases. There is a probability that certain oral bacteria can enter the blood stream leading to underlying heart problems. People with tongue piercings often suffer from gum problems and tooth wear and tear issues and might even suffer problems related to eating food, swallowing and speaking correctly.

  • Smoking/Tobacco

Teens often get lured into bad habits like smoking and tobacco consumption that can impact their health. This can lead to major health concerns like tooth staining, persistent bad breath, reduced sense of taste and smell, accumulation of tartar, gum diseases, tooth loss, oral cancer, lung cancer, mouth sores, and chronic bronchitis and heart diseases..

  • Methmouth

Teens that try drugs often face with many challenges including oral problems like methmouth. This is an oral problem that is caused by the use of illegal and highly addictive drug methamphetamine. This drug not just affects the central nervous system, but also leads to many oral health concerns. It can lead to high blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and other oral problems like frequent tooth decay, blackened tooth, stained tooth, rotting and crumbling of tooth.

  • Eating Disorders

Abnormal eating habits can also lead to teeth issues and therefore teens must also focus on the amount of food they consume. Insufficient or excessive food intake can impact individual’s health which can also arise from physical, mental, emotional and social issues.

Eating the right food is important for individual’s body. Without proper nutrition, gums and teeth inside the mouth can bleed easily. It can also affect the saliva level that can lead to chronic dry mouth. Frequent vomiting can also lead to tooth problems as acid reflux can erode the enamel. IDA recommends consulting your dentist if you are experiencing eating disorder Treatments for eating disorders can be resolved through better nutrition, family counseling, psychotherapy, medications,etc

  • Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can lead to more problems and therefore it is recommended that you visit the dentist for it. Often termed as the third molars, they erupt during adulthood when majority of them already have their permanent tooth. Wisdom tooth sometimes has issues finding the right space to erupt and this is exactly when you need to approach the dentist.Wisdom tooth has no specific schedule and therefore you need monitor the progress of the wisdom tooth. In some cases, wisdom tooth might need to be extracted especially if there is pain, infection, tumors, cysts, damage to adjacent tooth, gum disease and tooth decay.

  • Bad Breath

Bad breath is one of the common oral problems and mainly occurs due to negligence on personal grooming part. Bad breath can happen due to many reasons, but it can be handled in an effective way to ensure that your mouth stays fresh and does not smell bad.

The food you eat plays an important role in how your mouth smells. Foods like garlic and onion can lead to bad breath issues, so make sure that you brush and floss after meal to wash away food particles from your mouth. Gum diseases can also lead to bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Dry mouth can also lead to bad smell in the mouth due to decrease in saliva flow. Due to insufficient saliva amount, food particles are not cleaned properly. Smoking and tobacco can also lead to bad breath problems apart from staining the teeth and creating overall health problems. Other medical conditions like lung infection, kidney disease, diabetes and bronchitis can lead to bad breath issues.

IDA recommends proper brushing and flossing that can help to eliminate bad breath issues. You should also visit your dentist to resolve bad breath issues.

  • Leukoplakia

These are thick, whitish-color patches that form inside the cheeks, gums or tongue. The patches develop due to excess cell growth and are quite common with tobacco users. However, these also occur due to poorly fitted dentures or wrong chewing methods. Leukoplakia is also associated with oral cancer and therefore your dentist might recommend a biopsy of the patch.