Teens go through a lot of changes with their body as they mature into adults and their teeth are no exception! After childhood, most teens have a full set of adult teeth. This, however, doesn’t mean they’re done growing. Their jaws and teeth are still developing and shifting right along with the rest of their body. Pediatric dentists are trained to handle all these changes! It can also be comforting for teens to have a supportive, consistent doctor to rely on every time they visit the dentist. At Kids Healthy Teeth, we understand how hectic adolescence can be and we’re prepared for it!
Most kids want a little more independence as they grow older and this means no parents hovering over them to make sure they brush and floss every night. Though you can’t brush their teeth for them, you can provide them with all the essentials for maintaining a great dental hygiene routine. Always have toothbrushes, floss, and mouthwash in stock for when your teen runs out. Chances are your teen’s highest financial priorities aren’t exactly investing in dental care. Give your kids a friendly reminder to replace their toothbrushes every 3 – 4 months as old bristles can harbor unsavory, cavity-causing bacteria.
If your busy teen hasn’t been taking the best care of their teeth, give them a little social pressure – bad breath! Nobody wants it, especially not during adolescence, when your peers are of the utmost import! Of course, most teens already understand the necessity of oral care and they’re responsible enough to take care of themselves.
Teens have a lot going on these days – applying for colleges, participating in extracurriculars, fighting for social justice, studying for classes, working part time jobs – and the list goes on. It’s no mystery why teens simply gravitate toward the most convenient food available when they get hungry (which is often). Sugary snacks and greasy fast food are especially popular because they’re tasty and portable. Unfortunately, these convenient foods are usually pretty unhealthy for their teeth and overall health.
The pediatric dentist will explain to your kids how their dental health is directly affected by what they eat, but we encourage parents to take a few extra steps to reinforce this idea. Start your kids on healthy snacks early on, so they develop a palate for nutritious foods. Some of our favorites include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
More specifically, kids need to be consuming calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth. Slightly acidic foods are also great for maintaining an optimal pH level in the mouth. Fruits and vegetables provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for the mouth and jaws to function properly and create saliva.
Since bacteria feed off sugar to create cavities, teach your kids to be aware of how much sugar they’re consuming. It’s okay in moderation, but too much sugar can wreak serious havoc on the teeth! Some of the most inconspicuous culprits are the drinks that teens drink socially. Soda, milkshakes, juices, smoothies, and caffeinated beverages often have high levels of sugar. Water is always the best option.
No matter how old your child is, they need oral protection if they’re involved in high contact sports. High school and club sports can be especially dangerous because there are such high stakes (championships, scholarships, etc). You’ll want to make sure your child is prepared for any accidents by getting them fitted with a custom mouth guard. It will preserve the integrity of their teeth and jaws in the event of a collision. Check with the coach and safety standards to check whether they will need helmets as well. Better safe than sorry!
Common sports that require mouthguards may include:
Orthodontic treatment is very common for teenagers. While your orthodontist will walk your child through basic oral care and diet restrictions, our pediatric dentist will reiterate these ideas as well. Since our pediatric dentist is the one who has to clean teeth with braces, she’ll be very concerned about your child’s orthodontic care as well. Not to worry, our pediatric dentist is skilled at maneuvering between brackets and wires!
Most people get their wisdom teeth removed in late adolescence or early adulthood. Our pediatric dentist will be able to screen when it’s time to have them removed with dental x-rays. If the wisdom teeth are becoming impacted or protruding at an uncomfortable angle, they’ll need to be extracted.
Your teen can rest assured – the procedure is relatively quick and painless. Our Katy pediatric dentist will use the appropriate anesthetics or sedation dentistry to ensure the patient is comfortable throughout the entire process. Getting wisdom teeth removed may hurt once the anesthesia wears off, but the doctor will provide pain relievers and a diet guide. Most patients heal within a week or two. Your teen can also choose to have separate appointments for their teeth. Many people choose to do one side at a time, so they can chew with the other side of their mouth.