As a parent, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure your child is healthy. In many cases, that starts with their teeth. You probably prioritized visits to the dentist from an early age and encouraged healthy habits like brushing and flossing, of course.
Unfortunately, once your child reaches a certain age, their dental health might experience a significant drop. There are a number of oral health issues to which teenagers are especially prone. And if parents aren’t paying attention, their teen might experience dental decay, pain, or lifelong health problems. Ensuring that your teen continues to see their dentist every six months will help to curb some of these concerns, but you should still be on the lookout for the following.
Third molars, otherwise known as wisdom teeth, present some issues for teenagers and young adults. While the rest of your permanent teeth typically appear by the time you turn 13, wisdom teeth don’t make a full appearance until your late teens or early 20s. In some cases, these teeth may not have enough room to grow or may grow in the wrong position; your dentist will need to remove these impacted wisdom teeth to prevent or alleviate problems.
Wisdom teeth may also need to be removed if they experience any pain, infection, damage, disease, decay, or cysts associated with their growth. However, the only way to know whether your teen’s wisdom teeth need to be removed is to schedule regular dental visits throughout middle school, high school, and college.
Any teenager knows how important first impressions can be. But if your teen feels self-conscious about their teeth, their smile may not shine as brightly as it could. For example, many teens suffer from crooked teeth or misaligned bites. Once a teen’s permanent teeth have appeared, it’s often a good time to consider alignment options.
Traditional braces and even Invisalign treatments can fix a number of these issues. Your dentist may also offer teeth whitening for teens who want to look their best before a big event or who have experienced permanent staining due to poor diet or hygiene. You’ll need to discuss these options at length with your dentist to see which might be right for your teen.
Teenagers are notorious for going through rebellious stages. In some cases, this could impact your teen’s oral health.
Smoking, for example, can take a toll on the appearance and health of one’s teeth. Not only can smoking lead to stained teeth, but it can also cause bad breath, slow healing after a tooth extraction or surgery, and cause problems like gum disease and oral cancer. Other teens might decide to have oral piercings done, which can have negative effects on dental health (such as cracked teeth or serious infections).
Poor dietary habits can make it more likely for teens to experience tooth decay, of course. And in some cases, more serious mental and physical health disorders can have poor impacts on oral care. Eating disorders and substance abuse can both cause lifelong problems for a teen’s teeth and gums. In all cases, it’s advised to ensure your teen visits their general practitioner and their dentist regularly to keep tabs on their well-being and to catch problems before they become irreversible.
While your teen may be eager to gain independence, oral health is one area they can’t afford to slack on. It’s essential that parents stay involved in their teenagers’ dental hygiene and overall well-being throughout this pivotal period. Doing so will decrease their risk of developing dental problems later on in life. For more information on how our dental team can ensure your teen stays on the right track, please contact us today.