Adolescence 12–18

How can my adolescent child prevent dental problems?

Dental caries are most common in teenagers who drink soft drinks and sports drinks. While sports drinks work well for athletes who need to hydrate, they are also full of sugar and acid that promote tooth decay. A better alternative would be plain water in between meals. If they must have a soft drink, encourage them to consume it with a healthy meal and brush afterwards.

Are sealants good for a teenager’s teeth?

Yes, sealants are a very effective preventive measure that helps reduce development of caries on the back molars by approximately 70%. They are placed on the decay-prone areas (chewing surfaces) of the back molars.

What should I do if my teenager grinds their teeth?

Teeth grinding is a serious issue, especially in teenagers and young adults. You should bring this issue up to the dentist because grinding can lead to TMJ later. The stress can cause pain and soreness. To remedy the situation, your dentist may prescribe a special mouthguard. This guard should help them break the habit before it causes TMJ.

Should my teenager wear a mouthguard for sports?

We highly recommend mouthguards for all kids that play contact sports including football, hockey, and soccer. Mouthguards do more than prevent just tooth injuries. They are also effective in reducing concussions and more severe brain injuries. There are many options, including over-the-counter mouthguards and custom mouthguards.

Is it safe for my teenager to chew gum?

Yes. Sugar-free gum is helpful because it stimulates salivary flow, which naturally cleans teeth. Just make sure it is sugar-free!

What can my teenager do about bad breath?

Bad breath is something most teenagers worry about. Good oral hygiene practices, which including regular brushing and flossing, will help prevent it. Remind them to brush their tongue too, as plaque can coat the surface of the tongue and contribute to bad breath. Beyond good oral hygiene practices, if bad breath persists, consult your doctor to rule out any underlying issues. Asthma, sinus and throat infections, and tonsil stones can also contribute to bad breath.


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