Being a teen is difficult. Aside from all the demands of school, sports, and a social life to juggle and contend with, you have your health to worry about too. This includes the health of your teeth and gums. As you navigate from childhood to adulthood, there are all kinds of challenges that present themselves, especially for your oral health. Whether it’s braces, bad breath, or wisdom teeth, you need to do what you can to prevent cavities as they occur quite regularly during the teen years.If you’re a teenager (or a parent of one) read below to find out some great tips that you can use to help get you through your teen years with a smile!
Use the Right Brushing Technique
As a teen, we understand your days are jam-packed. Whether it’s school or hanging out with friends, you should always find time to brush your teeth! There are no excuses not to! After breakfast and before you get on the school bus, head into the bathroom and spend 2 minutes brushing your teeth. Make sure you’re using the right technique too. You’ll be surprised how many teens rush through the brushing process and actually end up doing more harm than good to their teeth and gums.
It’s pretty simple – have your brush at a 45-degree angle. This is so the bristles reach the gumline. Don’t brush too quickly or slowly as both can have negative effects on your oral health. Practicing these good habits now are what will serve you well once you reach adulthood.
Remember to Floss
As well as brushing your teeth, make sure to get into the habit of flossing. There’s a good reason for it too. Flossing between your teeth will get rid of any food that’s got stuck. Whatever you’ve been munching on, food particles can easily get stuck between the teeth and turn into plaque. Before you know it, you’ll have rotting food wreaking havoc on your teeth and gums which is never a good look!
The last thing any teen wants is to have bad breath. If you find your friends are looking at you funny when you’re chatting away, you may have bad breath that’s caused by trapped food! Simply get some flossing string or use a flossing stick to get started. Don’t be frightened if there’s a little blood at first. This is a sign that your gums need a good floss!
While some teens are blessed with having perfectly aligned teeth, others have crooked and misaligned gnashers which can come with oral health problems. For example, if you have overcrowding, you may find it difficult to keep your teeth and gums in good shape. Unfortunately, this can put you at a higher risk of decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss.
The good news is you can get braces to straighten your teeth. Gone are the days when you need to wear traditional, fixed metal braces too. In fact, ALIGNERCO have clear aligners for teens. Their treatment time can be wrapped up in as little as 6 months too! We understand many teens are self-conscious about their looks as it is, so wearing clear aligners may give you a confidence boost as they’re practically invisible!
Don’t Smoke or Vape
There are all kinds of temptations that teens need to resist as they navigate through these tricky years. One of the most obvious being cigarettes and vapes. From someone who was once a teen, we can say that there is nothing cool about smoking! Even the ever popular vapes aren’t good for you either. In fact, smoking and vaping can cause extensive damage to your teeth and increase your risk of gum disease.
We understand you’ll want to fit in with your peers and not stick out. However, rather than rebelling and picking up a cigarette or vape, it’s strongly advised to keep them away from your hand. Tobacco can cause all sorts of oral problems, like bad breath and mouth cancer too. What’s more, your teeth can quickly become discolored which isn’t the most attractive sight! If you have picked up smoking, don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor for advice on stopping.
Avoid Oral Piercings
Teenagers like to experiment with different things and trends. Unfortunately, one of these is piercings. While a large chunk of teens have their ears pierced, it’s oral ones that you need to avoid getting done. Oral piercings like piercings of the lips, tongues, and cheeks may look cool to your peers and be a talking point, they can cause oral health problems too.
You may not realize it, but oral piercings can cause fractured teeth and gum recession. If you’re adamant about getting one done, it’s always best to speak to your dentist first. They can give you advice about any potential complications oral piercings could bring on.
Keep An Eye on Wisdom Teeth
Once all your baby teeth have gone and your adult ones have settled in, there are a few teeth that rear their ugly head during your teen years. Which ones are we on about? Wisdom teeth! Otherwise known as the third molars, they often cause issues in the late teens to early adulthood. This is because they don’t always have enough space to emerge from the gums.
For teens who are experiencing pain and discomfort in the back of their mouth, this could be a sign your wisdom teeth are coming through. You may find your wisdom teeth are partially erupted which can result in food getting trapped, not to mention bad breath! If you’re in any discomfort or have concerns, make sure to see your dentist and get checked out. You may find you need your wisdom teeth removed.
Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sport
Keeping active during your teen years is more important than ever. As you develop, incorporating regular exercise into your routine is what will keep your weight in check, promote cardiovascular health and ensure you reach your adult years fit and well. One great way to keep your fitness levels up in your teens is by playing sports. Whether you’re a lover of baseball, basketball, or soccer is more to your liking, there are lots of sports that can be great team-building activities and benefit your mental health too.
If you are playing any of the sports listed, it’s wise to wear a mouthguard while you’re in the midst of a game. This is because any knocks to the mouth from other players could put your teeth at risk. The last thing you want is for a tooth to get knocked out! While wearing a mouthguard may be a little bit of a nuisance, when it comes to protecting your teeth and gums, wearing one is a no-brainer.
It’s hard being a teenager and certainly hard being the parent of one! While these pivotal years can be rough, there are actions teens can take which can lower their risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral health problems further down the line. Following our advice above is what will keep your teeth and gums in excellent health and ensure you reach adulthood with a set of pearly whites that can withstand anything.