Keeping Smiles Healthy and Happy: Dental Care for Teens
Prevention is key when it comes to teen dental care. Understanding and practicing proper oral hygiene habits can help teens maintain healthy gums and teeth. Additionally, general dentistry procedures can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, helping teens enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile. Learn more about the importance of dental care for teens in this overview from Long Island, NY dentist Louis J. Buono.
Keeping Teen Smiles Healthy with Proper Dental Care
Proper dental care during the teen years can help prevent dental damage, maintaining healthy smiles into adulthood. Establishing good oral hygiene habits along with regular dental exams and cleanings can help teens reduce their risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Teens can help keep their smiles at their best by following these dental care tips:
- Brush for a full two minutes twice a day: Brushing the teeth is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay. The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day for a full two minutes in order to ensure the teeth are thoroughly cleaned. Teens with braces need to be more diligent, brushing after each meal and snack, as food debris and plaque can collect around the brackets.
- Don't skip flossing: Flossing daily greatly reduces the risk of gum disease. Teens, and adults, should floss once a day.
- Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings: Regular dental exams and cleanings can maintain a healthy smile by catching dental issues early and keeping the teeth free of plaque and tartar buildup. Dental exams and cleanings should be scheduled at least once every six months.
- Avoid sugary, acidic foods and drinks: Foods and drinks high in sugar or acid, like sodas and citrus juices, can cause tooth erosion and increases the risk of decay. Avoiding such foods and drinks can help protect the teeth from damage. If you are drinking something sugary or acidic, use a straw, as it can help reduce contact with the teeth.
- Avoid certain foods if wearing braces: Teens with braces must take particular care with the foods they eat in order to protect their braces. Sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy foods can all cause damage to braces and should be avoided.
- Use a mouth guard during sports: Teens who play sports, especially contact sports like hockey, football, or wrestling, should wear a mouth guard to protect the teeth from injury.
Dental Treatments for Teens
Although steps may be taken to avoid dental damage, it's not uncommon for teens to require dental treatment at some point. Even teens with healthy teeth may suffer from alignment issues and require orthodontics treatment. These dental treatments can help teens enjoy beautiful, healthy smiles.
- Tooth-colored fillings: Tooth-colored fillings can restore the health and appearance of teeth damaged by dental cavities.
- Porcelain veneers: It's not uncommon for teens to chip a tooth while playing sports or during an accident. Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-shaped prosthetics that fit over the front surface of the teeth, hiding dental flaws and minor damage.
- Invisalign®: Teens with alignment issues often benefit from orthodontic treatment, like Invisalign®. Invisalign® uses clear, plastic trays to gradually and discreetly reposition the teeth.
- Traditional orthodontics: Traditional orthodontics remains a popular choice for teen patients. Using metal braces, traditional orthodontics can correct mild to severe alignment issues.
Schedule an Appointment
For more information about dental care for teens, we invite you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Buono.