Teens

Body Image and Self-Esteem Improved

Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry believes that all people should be proud of who they are! We stumbled onto another good website today: about-face.org. About-Face gives girls and women the tools they need to stay away from the constant barrage of media messages that adversely affects their body image and self-esteem. On the website they explain WHY they do what they do.

Why We Do It

Studies point to the same problem: the Western culture emphasizes the stereotypes of women and girls. It tells us that thinness is the only way to be beautiful, and puts women and girls at risk for depression and even harmful dieting and eating disorders.

Check out these statistics:

  • The number of girls who want to lose weight is a shocking 95%.
  • If teenage girls read diet articles, they are five times more likely to start extreme weight-loss measures five years later than ones who don’t.
  • Higher levels of depression in teenage girls stem from body image issues and eating problems.
  • Both women of color and Caucasian (white) women are likely to suffer from eating disorders, like bulimia and binge eating.

Learn more on the About Face site.

Diet and Your Teen’s Teeth

You already know that your diet can have a huge impact on your child’s overall health. Eating the right foods can nourish the body, help maintain a healthy weight, and keep disease at bay. But can your teen’s diet also impact the teeth? Absolutely! The sugar from food and drinks creates a breeding ground of bacteria in your teen’s mouth. Bacteria then produce acids that break down tooth enamel, which leads to tooth decay and cavities. With simple teeth cleanings and dental fillings, we can stop cavities from becoming worse. But if left untreated, your teen may require more serious treatment, like a pulpectomy or tooth extraction. A pulpectomy is often referred to as a “baby root canal.” During a pulpectomy, we will remove the diseased pulp tissue and disinfect the remaining nerve tissue.

Avoiding a Pulpectomy

Beyond dental treatment, you can help ensure your child’s mouth stays healthy. It all starts with a good diet full of fresh fruits and veggies and less sugar. Avoid sugar in the form of soda, juice and sports drinks, and help your teen eat fewer starchy snacks, like crackers and potato chips. These snacks stick to teeth, producing more sugar in the mouth. Try to encourage snacks such as fresh fruit, veggie sticks, yogurt, or cheese. Your teen can also try pure chocolate to satisfy sugar cravings. It does not stick to the teeth but melts off of the grooves. If your teen does eat chips or desserts, remind them to drink water to wash food particles off of their teeth.

The Benefits of Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry is a type of dentistry that focuses on the overall oral health of kids. While we work with children as young as infants and toddlers, older children and teens can benefit greatly from a pediatric dentist. Our doctors are trained to give your child the right dental care at any age under 18.

What Is A Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is similar to a pediatrician. Pediatric dentists must take additional training to understand the best ways to protect your child’s oral heath. They also stay current on the latest technology and practices. All dentists must take four years of college and four years of general dental school. In addition, pediatric dentists also receive two to three years of training in both children’s hospitals and dental schools. At Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry, our pediatric dentists are specially trained to give your children the customized care they need. We love working with kids to create healthy dental habits for life. Why go anywhere else?

Brushing Right

When it comes to brushing and flossing teeth, your teen probably thinks they are a professional by now, but even the most seasoned brushers can benefit from a few reminders! Make sure your teen uses a brush with soft, round bristles to ensure gentle cleaning, and remember to buy a new brush approximately every three months. An old toothbrush can lose its ability to effectively remove plaque. This also ensures your teen is still using the right size brush for their mouth as they have most likely outgrown the smaller child-size toothbrushes.

Dental Cleaning for Teens

Dental hygiene is important to keep your teen’s teeth healthy and cavity free. By now, your teen should know how to properly brush and floss their teeth. But it’s still important to remind them how to brush and floss to ensure they are using the right technique. To ensure proper teeth cleaning and reduce plaque, your teen should:

  • Grip the brush at a 45-degree angle facing the teeth
  • Brush in small, gentle circles about half a tooth wide
  • Be sure to brush the inner and outer surface of each tooth
  • Brush the chewing surfaces of each tooth, holding the brush flat over the teeth
  • Gently brush the tongue to remove food particles
  • Floss gently between teeth every day

Teeth Whitening for Teenagers

Teeth Whitening has grown in popularity in recent years with an abundance of over-the-counter options and even tooth whitening centers at the mall. Below are some guidelines to keep in mind for whitening in teenagers:

  • Wait until at least the age of 14. By this age, the tooth pulp is fully formed and the whitening process causes less sensitivity.
  • Drink dark drinks like soda and coffee through a straw to prevent discoloration of the upper front teeth.
  • Wait until braces are removed before starting whitening procedures. Take excellent care of your teeth while braces are on to prevent tooth discoloration or cavities.

Remember, all patients should have their teeth whitened under dental supervision—not at home. It is the safest way to prevent or limit complications and side effects of the whitening ingredients. Let us know if you are interested in tooth whitening and we make treatment recommendations.

Gum Disease and Your Teen

The most common cause of gum disease, or periodontal disease, is plaque. Regrettably, young patients often find out they have it after it’s been present for a substantial amount of time. Too often, the damage has already been done.

Can My Teen Get Gum Disease?

Absolutely. Studies show that the first stage of gingivitis is a persistent issue among children and teens. While advanced forms of gum disease occur more often in adults, we have also seen teens with this problem as well. Chronic gingivitis causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and easily bleed. Thankfully, teens can prevent and treat gingivitis by routinely brushing, flossing and seeking professional dental care. If untreated, it can develop into more complicated problems. Common problems associated with gum disease include:

  • Long teeth (gum lines recede, exposing the roots of your teeth)
  • Discolored or deteriorating tooth structure, gum depressions (holes that form between teeth in the gum tissue)
  • Infected gum line (discoloration or inflammation of the gum tissue)
  • Tooth loss or movement

In conclusion, don’t let plaque and gingivitis persist in your teen’s mouth! Remind them that proper and consistent daily oral hygiene and regular dental checkups can keep their mouths healthy and happy! Click here for more information on scheduling an appointment.

Oral Care and Teens: Tips for Healthy Smiles

Oral care is important at any age, but as your child reaches the teenage years, they are more prone to cavities because of poor diet. Kids need to eat a healthy, balanced diet that helps keeps bones strong and the mouth free from plaque. Stress the importance of avoiding sugary foods and drinks to keep cavities away.

Teens with Braces

For teens with braces, it is more important than ever to brush and floss regularly! This will ensure that your teen’s teeth and gums will stay healthy long after orthodontic treatment is complete. Remind your teen to brush at least three times per day. We also recommend that our patients rinse nightly with fluoride rinses that strengthen teeth while they are in braces. Regular and frequent dental visits are important throughout orthodontic treatment as well.

Eating with Braces

From the moment your teen gets braces, they should stick to soft foods. Avoid hard breads and tough, raw vegetables, like carrots. As the teeth start to move, they are likely to feel a little tender. Soft foods will help your child’s mouth feel back to normal more quickly. Also, you do not want them to break a bracket or wire. This could delay their treatment time.

What is a Sealant?

A sealant is a great way to protect against decay and cavities for years to come. Sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden onto tiny grooves on the tooth’s surface, creating a barrier against plaque and bacteria. Most general dentists paint the thin plastic coating on the chewing surfaces of teeth and the plastic forms a protective shield. The process is pain free and fairly quick.

How Can Sealants Help?

Tooth decay is often the worst on the tops of the back teeth. After we seal your child’s tooth, the small grooves on the teeth will be smooth and are less likely to attract plaque, making brushing easier and more effective against bacteria and tooth decay for up to three to five years. With sealants, your child is more likely to stay cavity free and avoid dental fillings well into the teenage years. Sealants need to be checked at regular dental cleanings to make sure there is no chipping or wear. If an issue is found, the sealant can be repaired. If your child is prone to cavities, contact us to learn more about sealants!

Nervous Teen? We Can Help!

Got a nervous teen on the day of their appointment? Dental work can make even the most mature teen worry. Even if your teen has been to the dentist before, new treatments can be scary. And that’s ok! As pediatric dentists, we receive extra training to create an atmosphere where your child can comfortably receive treatment. We choose the right techniques to appropriately manage each child’s behavior, including teens! If your son or daughter is uncomfortable, we offer in-office sedation, including oral sedation protocols. We also use a nurse anesthetist for more complicated cases. In addition, we offer general anesthesia in a hospital setting for patients with special healthcare needs. Our goal is the same for each child: a successful outcome in a safe environment. Make sure to reinforce positive thoughts to your teen as you discuss their upcoming appointment.

Sugar, Tooth Decay & Dental Habits

Can too much sugar in your teen’s diet cause tooth decay? Definitely! The foods we eat and poor oral hygiene habits are directly related to cavity causing tooth decay! Every second, bacteria feed on the sugars in your child’s mouth. Does your teen like starchy food, like pizza or chips? Do they snack on simple sugars, like candy or soda? When they do, sugar is left behind on their teeth. And bacteria—like us—love to eat sugar. Unfortunately, as bacteria eat, they create an acidic waste. Once bacteria take over and feed on the sugars, they can produce enough acid to cause tooth decay. Left untreated, tooth decay can continue to wear down the tooth, resulting in the need for a filling, root canal, and other unpleasant dental treatment.

Daily Dental Hygiene

So how can your teen prevent decay and avoid a root canal for your child? Remind them that the less sugar and starch they eat, the less likely bacteria can thrive, grow, and produce decay causing acids. Plus, when we brush and floss every day, we are interrupting the bacteria’s feast! Simple dental hygiene removes the colonizing bacteria, making them incapable of producing enough acid to cause havoc in your child’s mouth. Remind your teen about the importance of oral health and encourage them to create healthy eating habits! For more information, contact us to set up an appointment and let the experts at Smile Shoppe help you put your teen on the path to great oral heath!

Cavities: Contagious?

Can you “catch” a cavity? In a way, you can catch cavities! But with regular teeth cleanings, you can prevent cavities from even forming! At Smile Shoppe Pediatric Dentistry, we believe you should bring your baby in early. We like to see children for a cleaning six months after the first tooth erupts. This is so we can ensure your baby’s teeth come in correctly and remain cavity-free.

Preventing Cavities

A cavity needs a vulnerable tooth, sugar, and bacteria. We all have some bacteria in our mouths. But some of us have more cavity causing bacteria than others. Anyone who has a cavity in their mouth has a higher level of bacteria that produces cavities. When people share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes and other items, they can pass bacteria on to others. Children do not have this bacteria when they are born. But they can get it from a parent, caregiver or even another child. We can find signs of cavity producing bacteria at our office before the child’s first birthday! With a simple teeth cleaning, we can remove plaque, provide dental fillings, and help to reduce cavity causing bacteria.