Teenage Oral Health Care
Looking after teeth and gums during the ‘independence’ years.
Keeping our teeth and gums in good health can be an ongoing challenge for most of us, but when the teenage years arrive and hormones start to change our behaviour, adequate oral health care can be difficult to maintain. This can be a worrying time for parents, not only about their children’s general behaviour, but also how well they are looking after themselves.
Providing that you have brought your children up to be diligent about cleaning their teeth, and supervised them during their earlier years, they will hopefully be well equipped to continue to look after their teeth. The rise of ‘selfies’ may also encourage some to maintain a nice smile so that they can present the best photos of themselves to others. The teenage years do throw up some specific challenges though.
The teenage years are often rebellious years to some degree. This is natural and in many ways essential for their personal growth. It does mean though, that parents start to lose control over some aspects of their life, including their teeth cleaning regimen. Appointments at our Epsom dental clinic, which should be every six months, may be cancelled or skipped altogether because they have ‘better things to do’. As adults, we know the consequences of these actions and obviously want our children to avoid the pitfalls of neglecting their teeth and gums.
Whilst all teenagers will be different, gentle encouragement should still be maintained to help them have a healthy mouth both during their teenage years and onwards into adult life.
The freedom to eat what they want, drink and smoke, are all part of what might seem like normality to a teenager. There is some evidence to suggest that teenagers are now less likely to smoke, and even drink alcohol, than their parents generation; which is a positive thing. Perhaps the biggest challenge to their teeth comes in the form of a high sugar diet. As our dentists can tell you, too many youngsters are having to have teeth filled and even extracted, often due to excessive consumption of sugary food and drinks.
It can be frustrating to parents to see their children try to exist on a diet of sugary drinks and junk foods, and it can be very difficult to stop this as they grow older. You can be good role models though, and reducing this type of food in your own home will hopefully set a good example, whilst ensuring that they eat reasonably well, at least while at home.
The teenage years are when many children will need to have braces. Despite peer pressure and potential embarrassment, they should be encouraged to wear them, as straighter teeth will not only help their confidence as they grow older, but are also much easier to keep clean.
If you have teenage children and would like them to register with a dentist in the Epsom area, we are always happy to see them. You can call the Clocktower Dental Clinic today on 01372 720136 to arrange an appointment with our friendly team.