This stage of life can be problematic for young teeth
As parents, we do the best that we can when our children are younger, to make sure that they look after their teeth well. We encourage (and probably ‘nag’ a little) to get them to brush their teeth both morning and night.
Indeed some of us may wish that we had received the same encouragement when we were younger, as we may have grown up with less than healthy teeth ourselves.
Providing that we are diligent with this and supervise and encourage them not to eat too much sugar, most of our children will arrive at the teenage years with at least a reasonably healthy set of teeth, many of which will be their final adult set. Once the ‘teens’ start though, it can be a different matter altogether and things can start to go awry.
As we probably know from our own experience, our early teens are where we really start to exert our own independence. This is a natural part of growing up but it does come with many potential pitfalls, and this applies to our oral health as well. As adults, we may have been able to push our children to clean their teeth and keep an eye open to make sure that they were doing so when younger, but it becomes increasingly difficult to do so as they grow up. When they say they have cleaned their teeth, we generally have to believe them.
As they get older, it isn’t just neglect that can cause problems for their teeth and gums, but other factors come into play too.
Mid to late teens
As our children become more independent, we start to lose control over their lives even more. Mealtimes will often happen without them as they pursue other interests, perhaps eating unhealthy food whilst they are out and about.
Although less prominent than it used to be, some will start smoking and drinking alcohol too. Aside from any accidents that can occur when they drink, both of these habits are problematic for oral health, and gum disease is a distinctly possible outcome if they continue these habits. We may no longer be able to make sure they keep appointments at the dentist either and, over time, we may see their oral health deteriorate to the point where they are suffering with toothache. That is the point where they often come to us and we can do something to start to reverse the situation.
Even though teenagers are more independent, we still need to keep an eye on them. When they come to us with a toothache, or preferably before, this is a good opportunity to call Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic for an appointment on their behalf. We should not let this opportunity slip and should make sure that we also book them a follow up appointment where we can start to reverse any damage that has been done to their teeth and gums.
It may be that they also have other instances of tooth decay that are not causing pain yet but which need to be treated. After any restorations have been completed, one of the best things that you can do as a parent is to make an appointment for them to see the dental hygienist. Our Canterbury dentists have found this to be one of the most effective ways to help teenagers keep their mouth healthy.
Not only can the teeth and gums be thoroughly cleaned using the ‘scale and polish’ procedure, but it can be helpful for teenagers especially to have an independent source of advice that isn’t their parents. Our dental hygienist team are very patient friendly and we find that most teenagers will listen to the education they provide. It may not happen overnight but hopefully they will put some of hygienist’s suggestions into practice. By doing so, they give themselves a much better chance of reaching their adult years with a healthy set of teeth and gums.
Maintaing a great oral care routine
In adulthood, further challenges will arise for our teeth. Even if we look after them well, they will gradually lose the whiteness that they used to have. The good news is that in addition to general care of your teeth, we are also pleased to offer cosmetic dentistry treatments such as teeth whitening, keeping our smile not only healthy, but younger looking too!
If you have a teenage son or daughter who has neglected their teeth and needs to see a dentist to get them back on track, the team at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic will be only too happy to help. You can make an appointment to see us by calling our Canterbury based clinic on 01227 463529 and our team are on hand to help.