Teen Health Topics | Great Grins Children's Dentistry | Pediatric Dentist | Tucson, AZ

Teen Health Topics

Tips for Teens and Parents

20140616_155922The ways we stay healthy vary based on age. At Great Grins Children’s Dentistry, patients include teens and we emphasize the importance of their dental health. These are some small ways to make a big step toward healthier teeth.

Limit soda drinking

Sugar in sweetened sodas can cause cavities, and acidic flavor additives (found in both unsweetened and sweetened sodas) can also erode and damage tooth enamel. For better teen health, limit the harmful effects of soda in two simple ways: sipping soda through a straw cuts down on the contact the beverage has with teeth, and rinsing the mouth with water after drinking soda can reduce the risk of cavities.

Play it safe

Teens can prevent injuries by wearing a mouth guard while playing contact sports. Whether a mouth guard is custom-fitted by a dentist or bought at a store, teens should keep it clean by rinsing it often and storing it in a ventilated container.

Avoid oral piercings

Oral piercings can also have an effect on teen health. People with tongue piercings chip their teeth on the jewelry while eating, sleeping, talking and chewing. The fracture can be confined to tooth enamel and require a filling, or it may go deeper, which can lead to a root canal or tooth extraction. Infections are also common with oral piercings. The tongue can swell after being punctured, and in some cases can become infected and swell to such a degree that it interferes with breathing. Unclean piercing equipment can cause other infections, such as blood-borne hepatitis.

Make time for healthy habits

Teens should have access to healthy snacks. Food such as apples, carrot sticks and low-fat cheese are “on-the-go” snacks that are easy to take to school, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs.

Fresh breath?

Chewing sugarless gum with xylitol (a natural sweetener) after meals or snacks can also help cleanse the mouth. Drinking water throughout the day can help cleanse the teeth of excess bacteria and food debris.

Do the right things:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss each day
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
  • Eat healthy
  • Visit the dentist twice a year


*Some information courtesy of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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