Whether you’ve already had braces or you’re starting your orthodontic journey, taking care of your teeth as a teenager can have a major impact on your health later in life. If you’re not sure how best to take care of your teeth so they last your whole life, you’ve come to the right place. Here are eight essential dental health tips for teenagers to help you make your healthy smile last for life.
Don’t Ignore Tooth Pain
One of the primary dental health tips for teenagers is paying attention to tooth pain. When you start experiencing tooth pain or a toothache, it’s important to see your dentist as soon as possible. This is usually a clear indication that there is an underlying problem that you need to take to your dentist for endodontic treatment to address the issue The pain may be due to tooth infection, enamel erosion, or you could be developing cavities. If you let your oral pain go untreated, it can have some serious repercussions for the affected teeth and the surrounding gums. You may end up losing your teeth or developing gum diseases. The moment you start to experience a toothache, don’t let it stop your track, seek quick help to address the root cause of the problem.
Listen to Your Dentist
The experience that your dentist has accumulated over the years they’ve been in practice makes them an excellent resource as far as dental health tips for teenagers go. With their experience, they can advise for each unique case they come across. When your dentist gives advice on how you need to brush your teeth, or on which type of toothbrush you should use, you need to pay attention. If your dentist has scheduled for you a particular date to visit them for a checkup, ensure that you keep it in your planner so that you don’t miss it. You may go for a checkup, and the dentist may advise that you undergo sedation dentistry so that they carry out a thorough check-in your mouth to find the root cause of the problem.
Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions
When you visit your orthodontist, it is important that you follow the instructions that they give about taking care of your braces and teeth. Braces are usually expensive, so if you want to have the best possible result when using them, it would be best if you listen to your orthodontist’s advice. An orthodontist understands the effect you may have when you don’t follow their advice about taking care of your braces. Listen to their expert opinion. Supposing you disregard your orthodontist’s instructions, it may affect your tooth alignment. Things like bracket replacement or wire replacement can not only increase the overall cost of your treatment, but they may also interfere with the success of your tooth alignment. Ensure that you honor all of your orthodontist appointments and their instructions for proper oral care while you’re wearing braces.
Wear a Night Guard
If you clench your jaw or grind your teeth at night, your dentist may recommend the use of a dental mouth guard, also called a night guard. Not only will this protect your teeth from wear and tear, but it can help you sleep better. Jaw clenching or teeth grinding may occur if you’re stressed, taking certain medications, or struggling with sleep apnea. When you have frequent clenching and grinding problems, it’s crucial that you go for a checkup. If this kind of problem isn’t addressed in time, it may lead to some negative oral health consequences. For example, when you grind your teeth, it may wear down your enamel, leading to high chances of cavities and other dental issues. Clenching may also lead to cracking of teeth or tooth chipping. It may again pile a lot of pressure on your jawbones, and you may end up developing head and jaw aches.
While wearing a night guard may not prevent jaw clenching entirely, it will offer you protection around your teeth. If you are advised to wear a night guard, ensure that you wear it regularly to avoid tooth damage, minimize jaw pain, and help eliminate other symptoms like headaches that may come with jaw clenching.
Ask About Invisalign
If you’re worried about straight teeth but you don’t want to deal with the struggles of metal braces, it’s a good idea to ask your orthodontist about other options. For instance, Invisalign is an excellent option for teens who don’t need too many alignment adjustments, but also don’t want to wear metal braces for nine months. Invisalign can fix a wide range of cosmetic issues you may have, such as bite complication issues, crooked teeth, crowded teeth, and gaps between your teeth. Before you make your choice to invest in this type of orthodontic treatment, make sure you have a sound understanding of how long the treatment process will take, how the treatment process works, and what steps you’ll need to take after your Invisalign treatment is complete.
Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily
One of the simplest dental health tips for teenagers to follow is brushing your teeth twice every day. According to the American Dental Association, teeth need to be brushed twice daily for at least two minutes each time. The brushing exercise should take place after meals in an effort to eliminate bacteria buildup that can happen after you eat. But the most important reason to brush twice a day is to avoid plaque and tartar buildup. If plaque isn’t removed effectively, it may harden and become tartar, which can make it harder to keep your teeth clean. When you have an increase in tartar in your mouth area on your gums, it’s possible to experience inflammation that may develop into gum disease.
It’s also important to watch what you eat before brushing your teeth. For example, if you have consumed an acidic drink or food, it would be best if you don’t brush your teeth immediately because this acidic food and beverages will weaken your teeth enamel, and when you brush shortly after consuming them, you can remove your enamel. Do this often enough and you just might require restorative dentistry to replace your teeth in time.
Have Your Teeth Cleaned Twice Annually
Aside from brushing your teeth daily, another dental health tip for teenagers is to visit your dentist twice annually for professional cleanings. You may be doing everything correctly, from brushing your teeth twice a day to flossing and cleaning your tongue the right way, but it’s essential that you invest in dental cleanings twice a year. Even carefully brushed teeth may still develop some plaque and tartar. It is essential that you go for a routine dental cleaning because the dentist has the best equipment that they can use to remove those tartars that form in your teeth. The dentist will observe your teeth carefully during such a visit and look for potential problems such as gum diseases, tooth grinding cavities, and other common issues.
Many patients with dental issues don’t know that gum diseases and damaged tooth enamel can affect their overall health, as well. When you have a cavity or some other form of tooth decay, the bacteria causing it may enter your bloodstream. This, in turn, may lead to heart attack and stroke. Gum diseases may also lead to other health conditions.
Keep an Eye on Your Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are one of the peskiest holdovers from our early evolution as humans. Unfortunately, they can cause immense pain and discomfort if you leave them alone for too long. This is because your jaw simply isn’t big enough to hold all of your teeth with the addition of your wisdom teeth. Not only could leaving them cause you pain, but it could also jeopardize any orthodontic work you’ve had done to align your teeth. If you’re experiencing pain in the back of your jaw or your teeth are shifting, it’s important to see your dentist right away so they can refer you to an oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal.
Taking care of your teeth as a teenager is something that will affect your health for the rest of your life. If you have questions about these dental health tips for teenagers, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist’s office and set up a time to talk with them.