Special Dental Concerns for Teens and Adolescents (Part 1)

12272681As our children grow and change, our list of concerns about their health change too. In dentistry as in other medical fields, kids grow out of some problems and into others. As your little ones approach and pass through their teenage years, there are a number of new issues that may begin to affect their oral health. Here’s the first part of that list:


Lack of good oral health habits – Even kids who were great at taking care of their teeth when they were little may fall into the common trap of teenage laziness when it comes to brushing and flossing regularly. Teens may be sleeping later and have less time to get ready in the morning, and they may staying up later and later due to extra-curricular activities and homework, or they may just have a lot of other things on their minds. Any of these scenarios can lead to skipping their routine of regular brushing and flossing, but that routine is important at any age in order to prevent cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and other concerns. It’s also important to make sure your teen continues to see a dentist twice a year, so don’t back down if they argue with you about attending appointments.


Poor diet – As children’s independence increases, both in terms of finances and time spent without adult supervision, they have more opportunities to make their own choices about what they eat and drink. It’s important to keep purchasing and serving healthy meals and snacks at home, but it’s also important to discuss the consequences of consuming too much junk food when your kids are at school, at the mall, and elsewhere. Sugar and acid, which are major components in coffee, sodas, energy drinks, many fruit juices, candy, sugared gum, ice cream, and other sweet treats, break down tooth enamel, which can lead to discoloration and tooth decay, and tooth decay can lead to other problems, such as pain and bad breath. Of course, consuming too much junk food can also lead to other health problems, such as obesity and osteoporosis.


Contact sports and other rough activities – As kids get older and stronger, they both give and take harder and harder hits in sports such as football, soccer, basketball, hockey, wrestling, and more. Many also become more adventurous in other potentially dangerous activities such as biking, skateboarding, and rollerblading. If a small child loses a baby tooth during one of these activities, it’s usually only a matter of waiting for the permanent tooth to grow in as a replacement, but of course permanent teeth can only be replaced with false teeth. When adolescents (and adults!) participate in pastimes where they’re likely to fall or be hit in the head by other people or equipment, it’s essential that they wear properly fitted mouthguards to protect their teeth, gums, and lips. Also, it’s important to check with your child’s coach and make sure they have a tooth saving kit on hand in case of emergency.


These are just some of the oral health concerns that parents and guardians need to consider as their children grow. Stay tuned for our next post, which will discuss more potential problems. And remember, Tiny Texans Pediatric Dentistry in Austin treats regular and dental emergency patients at every stage of childhood and adolescence!


Tiny Texans Pediatric Dentistry

11200 Manchaca Rd.

Bldg. 4, Ste. 1

Austin, TX 78748