You are probably enjoying the extra freedom you have as a teenager. However, with more freedom comes more responsibility (as we are sure you have heard before). One of the most important jobs you now have is taking charge of your dental health. You likely don’t have a parent telling you to brush and floss every night, and you may be responsible for driving yourself to your dental appointments now. Taking care of your teeth and gums will not only ensure you maintain an attractive smile and fresh breath, but it can prevent painful dental problems and the need for more invasive treatments.
Teenagers can be at a considerable risk for cavities. In fact, 59% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have at least one cavity, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. There are specific ways to fight the risk of tooth decay if you are a teen.
- Make sure you are brushing twice a day, for two minutes each time
- Don’t forget to floss daily, you’ll clean an additional 35% of your tooth structure
- Avoid excessive sodas and sports drinks, which can damage your tooth enamel and greatly increase your risk for decay (and tooth discoloration)
If you do have a cavity or suspect a concern, always schedule an appointment with your dentist. Avoiding cavity treatment can lead to a severely damaged tooth that may need a root canal or even an extraction.
Another important way to protect your smile as a teen is to purchase a mouthguard for sports. Studies show that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they’re not wearing a mouthguard. For the best protection and most comfortable fit, choose a custom mouthguard from your dentist.
One of the easiest smile care tips is to carry a water bottle and pack of sugar-free gum around with you during the day. While you may not always be able to brush your teeth after a sugary snack or sports drink, you can at least rinse the harmful effects away with a sip of water or by chewing a piece of gum.
At Mitzi Morris DMD, we are here to help adolescent patients achieve their very best smile. If you are a teen, remember that you are taking care of permanent teeth that are meant to last a lifetime!