The teenage years are a time of exploration, experimentation, and fun. Many teenagers are not yet health-conscious, but most are already self-conscious. They try to stay on top of the trends to look good and feel good with their peers. When it comes to dental care, though, many teenagers fall short. They don’t realize that their oral health habits now will impact their teeth later in life.
Tooth loss is a common problem in adults, but it doesn’t have to be. You may think that since tooth loss is easy to fix, thanks to the many teeth replacement options available, it would be better to wait until later in life to start worrying about it. However, tooth loss prevention is always better than cure.
Here are some tips on how you can prevent tooth loss as a teenager:
Never Ignore Good Oral Hygiene Habits
This one might seem a no-brainer, yet many people take basic oral hygiene for granted. You may think that skipping brushing your teeth twice a day may not have an effect if you only neglect this for, let’s say, two weeks. But a lot can already happen within that short span of time.
Skipping regular brushing of teeth can lead to the following problems:
- bad breath
- stained teeth
- gum disease
- heart attack or stroke
That’s right — not brushing your teeth regularly can increase your chances of getting a stroke or developing dementia. With good dental habits, you can remove plaque and bacteria and even save yourself against significant health issues down the line.
Be sure to invest time brushing and to floss your teeth daily. Don’t forget to brush your tongue to keep bad breath at bay. And visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and checkups.
Choose the Right Foods and Drinks
What you eat and drink also have an impact on your oral health. Too much sugar, for instance, can lead to tooth decay. So if you’re craving something sweet, go for fruits instead of sugary snacks. It would be best not to indulge in sweet fruits like grapes and mangoes too often. Eating them in moderation should be fine.
When it comes to drinks, water is still the best choice as it helps wash away food particles and bacteria in your mouth. You can also opt for milk and unsweetened tea. Steer clear of soda, coffee, tea, red wine, acidic drinks, and energy drinks, as they can cause dental erosion.
Acidic drinks can wear away your tooth enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth. If you can’t avoid them altogether, at least rinse your mouth with water after drinking them. And wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to give your enamel time to recover.
Chew Gum — But the Right Kind
Chewing gum can help prevent tooth decay. But not all gums are the same. Go for sugarless gum that contains xylitol, as this natural sweetener can reduce plaque and cavities.
Regular chewing gums, on the other hand, can do more harm than good as they contain sugar. When you chew gum, the sugar sticks to your teeth and turns into plaque-causing acid. So if you can’t go without chewing gum, make sure it’s sugarless.
When choosing a gum, ensure the product has met the ADA’s safety and effectiveness standards. You can check the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the package to be sure.
Stop Using Tobacco
Studies show that smoking can be a major factor in tooth loss because of periodontal disease. This is because smoking increases your risk of developing gum disease, which is a common cause of tooth loss.
If you can’t quit smoking altogether, at least try to cut back. This way, you’re not only reducing your chances of tooth loss but also saving yourself from other tobacco-related health problems such as cancer.
Aside from the health risks, smoking also causes bad breath and stains on your teeth. So if you’re looking for ways to have whiter teeth, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do.
Be Careful When Playing Sports
Playing contact sports can risk getting hit in the mouth, leading to tooth loss or damage. So if you’re into playing football, hockey, or basketball, wear a mouthguard.
Wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth and jaws from injury. So be sure to choose one that’s comfortable to wear and won’t limit your breathing or speech.
You can also opt for a custom-made mouthguard, which is more expensive but offers the best fit. When your mouthguard fits well, you’re more likely to wear it every time you play. This can give you ample protection against injury.
See Your Dentist Regularly
Even if you’re following all the tips above, you must see your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and checkups at least once or twice a year. But if you have a history of dental problems, you may need to visit more often. This way, you can catch any dental issues early on and prevent them from worsening.
And if you ever need a teeth replacement after losing a tooth or two, your dentist can help you bring back your smile. Different teeth replacement options are available these days, from dentures to implants. So you can be sure to find one that’s right for you.
Most people would choose dentures or bridges as these are more affordable options. But implants are your best bet if you’re looking for a more permanent solution. Your investment will be worth it since you get to keep natural-looking and feeling teeth that can last a lifetime with proper care.
Make sure your dentist has the necessary skills and experience to perform reliable dental implant procedures. You need someone who has a great track record in this field to ensure you’re getting the best quality treatment. This way, you can be sure that your smile will last many years.
So there you have it — some tips to help you keep your teeth healthy and strong. Taking good care of your teeth may not be at the top of your priorities as a teenager. But by following these tips, you can avoid tooth loss and keep your smile looking its best. And if you do experience missing a tooth, know that looking for a reputable dentist who can get your smile back on track.