As a teenager, you take great pride in your appearance, but are you miscalculating the work it takes to maintain a healthy smile? Add in your new found independence and active social life, and you might think you’re just too busy to pay extra attention to your teeth or go for check-ups.
As a registered dental hygienist, I try to emphasize how important it is for adolescents to maintain proper dental hygiene. Did you know that dental decay is the most common chronic disease in young people between the ages of five and 17?
Cavities are not just for little kids, and as our teeth are among the first things people notice about us, it’s vital that teens make the effort to maintain good oral hygiene.
Here are my five easy tips teens should use when it comes to dental care:
It’s easy to maintain dental health when it’s part of your daily routine of things to do. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once can greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay and plaque build-up. Also, teens who wear dental braces should brush and floss after every meal to avoid debris getting stuck to their teeth and wires.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a tooth! More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur each year, so if you are involved in contact sports, use a mouth guard, rinse it often and store it in a ventilated container.
It’s normal to grab a quick snack in between classes or activities: it’s the kind of snack that’s important. Foods and drinks loaded with sugar can wreak havoc on teeth, causing cavities and damage to the tooth enamel. Opt for something healthier such as fruits, veggies and cheese sticks. Remember, an apple is nature’s toothbrush!
Studies continuously show tobacco users usually start smoking in their teens. It’s imperative that parents and teens discuss the health and dental consequences of tobacco products – from tooth staining to dental tartar build-up to stinky breath.
Tongue and lip piercings may be trendy, but they’re also dangerous. Not only do you run the risk of tongue swelling and infection: you can also chip your teeth on mouth jewellery. This can result in fillings and even root canal treatment.
A registered dental hygenist and CEO of Dental-X Smile Centers, Anaida has made it her mission to educate patients on the importance of dental health. She is a member of the Canadian, Ontario and Toronto Dental Hygienists Associations, and was elected as the ODHA Ambassador for Toronto North. She founded Mission Kind (Kids In Need of Dentalcare), to help children aged six to 16 obtain much needed dental work at no charge. @anaidadeti;