If you have a teenager, you know how busy those crucial years can be. Between school, sports, music classes, and dating, it’s not uncommon for dental hygiene habits to fall by the wayside. Many routines we develop in our teenage years are carried through to adulthood. In addition to maintaining healthy teeth and gums, it is important to foster positive dental habits for a lifetime of benefits.
At our Houston, TX practice, Dr. Jon Marc Van Slate provides dental care for teens. Focusing on individualized care, he offers preventative, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry for the whole family. Read on to learn more about factors that affect dental health, and how your teen can address them.
Diet and Lifestyle
Sugary and starchy foods are a dietary staple for a teenager. Candy, soda, and pizza are all part of high school life. These food choices heavily contribute to the development of cavity-causing bacteria. While it is not necessary to eliminate these foods from the diet, it is important to foster proper dental hygiene habits to keep plaque and tartar at bay.
Be sure to make time in your teen’s busy schedule for routine dental examinations and cleanings, which are vital for optimal oral health. Oral bacteria levels repopulate every few months. That is why is it important to see your dentist regularly so you can prevent problems before they start. We also provide fluoride treatments to strengthen tooth enamel and safeguard against cavities. In addition to in-office treatments, our skilled team will demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques so your teen can develop excellent habits at home.
When it comes to tooth decay, early detection is essential. If a cavity does develop, Dr. Van Slate can repair it before it becomes extensive. In our office, we use tooth-colored filling material for a natural look that will blend in seamlessly with your teen’s smile.
Custom Mouth Guards
If your teen plays sports, it is important to protect his or her smile from trauma and damage. A custom mouth guard is useful for preventing accidents such as fractured or chipped teeth. This appliance is especially useful for patients who wear braces or play high-contact sports.
Mouth guards can also alleviate pain and tenderness caused by bruxism (teeth grinding). High school can be a particularly stressful time. Even if your teen does not exhibit signs of anxiety, hidden stress can lead to teeth grinding, which can cause dental erosion and have a negative impact on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Typically, teeth grinding occurs subconsciously at night. Therefore, when addressing bruxism, a mouth guard will only need to be worn during sleep.
Many people assume that only adult patients need periodontal treatment. However, if your teen is in braces or has excess gum tissue, gingivitis can develop, making the gums appear puffy and swollen. This is often a result of harbored bacteria under the gum line, and can be accompanied by tenderness and bleeding. Dr. Van Slate can perform a deep cleaning to flush out plaque and bacteria and make the gums healthy again.
Schedule an Appointment
If your teenager needs a dental home, we hope you will find it at our practice. We are always available to answer your questions and address your concerns. If you or a family member would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Slate, you can call our office at (713) 783-1993 or contact us online anytime.