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Oral Health: Teens

It may be easy to help your children keep their teeth clean when they are young, but it becomes more difficult when they become teenagers. They are busy, tend to eat more junk food, and want less direction from you.

Once of the most persuasive arguments you can use with your teen to get them to continue brushing and flossing – beyond the risk of cavities – is better breath and whiter teeth.

Your teen should still brush at least twice a day and floss daily – make it easy for them. If you have a bathroom near the kitchen or front door, put a spare toothbrush in there so that they can quickly use it before racing out the door. Let them choose their toothpaste and flavour of floss – give them choices in their own dental care.

Mouth guards protect teeth and brains

Teens who play contact sports such as hockey, rugby, basketball, field hockey and football should wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth from impact. 

While you can buy a “boil-and-bite” mouth guard from a sports store, consider getting a custom-made guard from our dental clinic.  These guards have multiple layers of cushioning that are designed to absorb shock. They don’t just protect their teeth, they also help prevent concussions. Because the guard is custom-fitted to your teen’s mouth, it is less likely to dislodge during contact, and more comfortable to wear than the store-bought varieties.

Braces and retainers may be necessary

Braces and retainers are a fact of life for many teenagers and they aren’t just about having a good-looking smile – they also help to shape your teen’s face.

Today, braces come in far more options than they used to. If your child or teen needs braces, we will be happy to recommend you to a skilled orthodontist.

Wisdom teeth may become a problem

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, show up on dental x-rays during the mid-teens. Your teen may begin to feel them as they push against the back gums.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth can cause problems and pain: if they become impacted (get trapped in your jawbone or gums), come in at the wrong angle and push against other teeth, or crowd out other teeth. In these cases, the wisdom teeth may need to be removed. 

Advancements in dental techniques mean that extractions are easier and less invasive than ever – we always refer wisdom tooth extractions to a skilled oral surgeon.

Get all of the facts before you get an oral piercing

If your teen is thinking about getting an oral piercing so that they can wear jewellery in their tongue, lips, cheeks or uvula, have them talk to us before they make their final decision.

Piercings can cause complications such as:

  • Infections from bacteria in the mouth
  • Swallowing or aspirating jewelry
  • Speech impediments
  • Chipped teeth

Once you and your teen have all the facts, you can make an informed decision together.

Time for a checkup? Please call our office at 604-273-1777 or visit our Contact page.

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