dental appointment

Teen Oral Health Tips: Best Practices

  • Brush twice daily and floss daily to remove plaque and food particles, helping prevent tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
  • Use mouthwash for extra protection against bacteria and plaque.
  • Visit the dentist annually for check-ups and professional cleanings.
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause damage; look into nightguards or therapy to address the issue.

Everyone knows that proper oral health care is essential, especially for teenagers. Teens go through many changes in their mouths and need extra attention to ensure their oral health stays strong. But with the myriad of options available, knowing which ones are worth it can be confusing. Here are some of the best practices for oral health and what teens can do to keep their teeth healthy.

Basic Oral Care

Good oral health starts with the basics. So make sure you dedicate a few minutes each day to these activities. Doing so will help keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape and prevent issues such as cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

Brushing

It’s important to brush at least twice daily — once in the morning and another before bed. This will help remove plaque and bacteria buildup, which can lead to decay, cavities, and gum problems. Make sure to use a soft-bristled brush and fluoridated toothpaste. And don’t forget to brush your tongue too!

Flossing

Flossing is just as important for oral health as brushing. It helps remove plaque and food particles from in-between your teeth and along the gum line, where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing daily helps prevent gum inflammation, tooth decay, and bad breath.

Mouthwash

Using mouthwash can also help fight bacteria and reduce plaque buildup. Look for an antiseptic or fluoride-based mouthwash for the best results. Many herbal and natural products are also available if you prefer something more natural. This way, you can get the extra protection you need without all the chemicals.

Regular Check-Ups

It’s essential to visit your dentist at least once a year for a professional cleaning and check-up. Your dentist can spot potential problems early on and help you take the necessary steps to prevent them from developing further. They can also check your gums and teeth for signs of decay or infection. With regular check-ups, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy for years to come.

a dental cleaning session

Professional Cleanings

Twice-yearly professional cleanings are an essential part of keeping teenage mouths healthy. During these visits, dentists will check for any signs of decay or gum problems that may have arisen since the last appointment—and look at X-rays to gauge what’s happening beneath the surface.

Cleanings help remove plaque buildup from hard-to-reach areas in your teen’s mouth, preventing gum disease. They’re also an opportunity for teens (or parents) to ask questions about optimizing their dental care plan in the future.

Dental Treatments

If there are significant problems or damage to the teeth, your dentist may recommend additional treatments such as fillings, crowns, or root canals. These procedures help restore teeth to a healthy state and prevent further damage from occurring.

Clenching & Bruxism

Clenching and bruxing—or grinding one’s teeth—are habits many develop over time due to stress or anxiety. For teens especially, this habit can put extra strain on already developing teeth and cause them damage if not addressed early on.

If you notice your teen clenching or grinding their teeth while sleeping or during wakeful hours, speak with your dentist immediately about ways to prevent further damage. Treatments available include the following:

a young woman attaching a clear occlusal splint

Occlusal Splints

A custom nightguard or occlusal splint is a splint retainer designed specifically for this condition. This appliance will reposition the jaw into its natural resting position while worn overnight (and sometimes during waking hours), relieving tension on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

It also helps prevent wear on the enamel of the teeth caused by grinding and clenching over extended periods without treatment intervention — something all parents want for their children’s long-term oral health.

Therapy

In some cases, psychological therapy or relaxation techniques may be recommended to help teens manage their stress and anxiety. This can significantly reduce bruxism episodes and save teeth from further damage. Thus, helping them achieve and maintain optimal oral health.

By following these tips, teens can keep their mouths healthy and reduce the risk of dental problems in the future. It’s important to stay on top of oral health and make sure your teen is brushing and flossing regularly, as well as scheduling regular check-ups with the dentist. With good oral hygiene practices and professional care, teens can enjoy strong teeth and healthy gums throughout their lives.

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