Ways to Avoid Cavities in Teenagers
Cavities are the most common yet most damaging of dental issues when they are not prevented or addressed in a timely manner. Avoiding cavities in teenagers or even adults for that matter is easier said than done. While moderate intake of sugary substances, snacking at specific times of the day and systematic dental care routine is all it may take to keep cavities at bay or rather delay them as much as possible, sticking to these simple rules is indeed challenging, especially for youngsters. It is more likely for growing children and young adults to indulge in sweets and snacks at odd times of the day. Parents must of course keep reminding their children about the importance of regular dental care, and even enforce strictdiet and dental health regimen if needed.
Here are few ways in which cavities can be prevented in children.
Daily Dental Care Routine
Training children to care for their teeth right from their early years is essential so that it becomes an integral part of daily life. Brushing twice a day is a tried and tested habit that helps clean the surface of teeth, and actually is more effective when done at night as it can clear food residue that gets deposited during the day. Saliva tends to naturally wash teeth and counter bacterial infection, but not much of it secreted when we’re asleep. Hence sugary residues on the teeth and gums left overnight harbor harmful bacteria, causing cavities and gum infections. Brushing in the morning activates the salivary glands and refreshes the oral cavity. A thorough 2-3 minute brushing of teeth also helps loosen plaque deposits.
Using fluoride-enriched toothpaste is effective in keeping teeth strong and resistant to bacterial infections. The fluoride concentration in the toothpaste intended for permanent teeth however tends to be higher. An overdose of fluoride may cause streaks or spots on the teeth and in rare cases wear off enamel as well. Make sure to select the right product.
Using special Mouthwash formulations to counter cavities and plaque formations also prove quite helpful.
It is important to remember that brushing does not always remove food particles lodged between teeth or between teeth and gums. Flossing teeth at least once a day will ensure that the teeth surface is indeed clean. Regular dental floss and interdental toothbrushes make the job easier.
Inner and outer surfaces of the teeth need equal care and so do the tongue and upper palate as well.
If children have undergone dental treatment and have implants, braces, veneers, crowns /caps fitted on teeth, then consulting a dentist on the right type of dental care and products to use will help youngsters take better care of oral hygiene and take dental care seriously as well.
Food and Drinks
While it is near impossible to get teenagers to stay away from junk foods, snacks, sweets and sugary drinks, regulating their eating habits and weaning them from eats that are likely to compromise on dental health over time is recommended.
Constantly chewing on sweets, candies or even sweetened gum is bound to attract germs and bacteria if residues are not fully cleared. Regular intake of fizzy colas and other drinks those are acidic in nature tend to weaken the teeth enamel over time.
Including dairy products such as milk and cheese as well as seasonal vegetables and fruits in the daily diet helps build immunity and health and keep minimize craving for junk eats.
Thoroughly rinsing the mouth with water or mouthwash after every meal is a great way to dislodge food particles which otherwise may cause bad breath or tooth decay. Even consuming a sip of water or two could also help. Sugarless gum too works well as an effective cleansing agent!
Regular Dentist Visits
Not all of us are enthusiastic about visiting the dentist and teenagers are definitely no exception. Visiting the dentist at least once a year helps keep a close tab on dental health. Despite best dental care and watchful eye, there are a host of problems or symptoms that may go unnoticed. Getting teeth examined and treated by qualified dental care professionals can help detect and address concerns in a timely manner.
For instance, problems with molar teeth or wisdom teeth which lie far back in the jaw bone need professional attention. Fissures or cracks, small cavities, plaque formation and other issues are easily remedied. Dentists typically use dental sealants to protect the large chewing surface of molar teeth if the grooves are more pronounced, preventing food and bacterial build up.
Alignment of teeth is yet another cosmetic problem that is often successfully resolved when the issue is detected early and suitable braces are prescribed to set teeth in place. Occlusion and bite problems too are addressed early to achieve the best possible results.
Prevention is indeed better than cure and this applies well to dental health issues as well. Basic dental care routine and going light on sugary substances do go a far way in keeping teeth in good condition. Using the right toothbrush and using it the right way too is equally essential. Brushing teeth too hard or for too long will hurt the gums and soft tissue in the mouth. Mouth sores, receding gums or light bleeding too may occur. Parents must teach and guide children to use the toothbrush and right amount of toothpaste / mouthwash during their early years in order to ensure that they do not hurt themselves in the process.