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FAQ Oral Care for Teenagers

White Marsh and Hanover dentists address common oral care questions for teenagers 

Being a teenager can be difficult!  In addition to being concerned about the physical, and emotional changes they are experiencing as well as peer pressure, they also worry about their appearance.  Common dental needs like having their wisdom teeth removed, getting braces, and establishing good oral hygiene to prevent bad breath, are common oral care concerns for teenagers.  Dental Designs of Maryland, with locations in White Marsh MD and Hanover MD, has an experienced dental team that offers quality dental care for the entire family to help your teenager have healthy teeth and gums, and to answer and address any oral concern they may have.  

Common Oral Health Questions For Teenagers

Especially for first time parents, there are often many questions about how to care for baby teeth.  These concerns continue through the first several months to years where the baby teeth exfoliate and are replaced with permanent teeth.  As children continue to grow, they experience an ever evolving list of concerns based on their age, gender, and overall health.  These common concerns include  

  • Alignment of teeth
  • Halitosis, or bad breath
  • Teeth whitening
  • Marijuana or tobacco use

  Teenagers are often very concerned about their appearance, and having straight even teeth often can boost confidence in a significant way.  Metal braces have long been the standard of care for teenage orthodontics, however teens may qualify for orthodontic treatment with clear plastic BPA-free aligner trays from Invisalign.  Dental Designs of Maryland is a certified Invisalign provider.  Invisalign aligners are created using scans or plastic impressions of the patient’s teeth to ensure a snug, appropriate fit.  Invisalign treatment relies on a series of trays that apply gentle pressure to continuously move the teeth.  This creates a convenient and nearly invisible method of straightening teeth, that works extremely well for self-conscious teenagers.  Please make sure to ask your Dental Designs of Maryland provider for your Invisalign options!   Bad breath is also another common concern for teenagers.  Unfortunately, bad breath affects people of all ages but signs and symptoms often begin around the teenage years due to diet and having not yet being accustomed to a daily oral hygiene routine like brushing and flossing.  Bad breath can have negative social implications for teens, however it is often something as simple such as setting up a consistent oral homecare routine or something like brushing the tongue can make a big difference as well!  However, if you or your teen notice persistent bad breath even after making changes to the oral hygiene routine, contact your family dentist to determine the cause of the problem.   Often times teenagers begin to wonder about whitening their teeth.  A brighter smiles is a great way to achieve a winning smile and boost their self esteem.  Patients can either pick up over the counter whitening products, or choose to see a dentist to have whitening professionally administered.  Whitening by a dentist is the safest, most effective way to transform the smile. Dental Designs of Maryland offers Zoom! Whitespeed chairside whitening for dramatic in-office whitening.  Custom at-home whitening trays are included with this package, which will give you the best and most dramatic improvement in teeth whitening. Remember that maintaining good oral health habits and having the teeth regularly cleaned by a dental hygienist can help remove simple surface stains for a whiter smile.   Over the past two decades, tobacco and marijuana use has become a common concern for teenagers and parents.  Smokers most often pick up the habit in their teenage years due to peer pressure, and the long term health effects of such behavior can be extremely detrimental to the patients oral and overall health.  Cigarettes and marijuana joints can be full of dangerous toxins, but they also cause bad breath due to causing dryness of the oral cavity.  They also contribute to teeth staining, bone loss and gum disease, and oral cancer.  Make sure to have an honest conversation with your teenager about the dangers of tobacco and marijuana use, and if you suspect that they are smoking, address the problem quickly as these habits can be extremely addictive.  The earlier these issues are addressed and stopped, the less likely they will form a habit that may follow them for life.   It is important to get children off on the right foot with oral care.  Young children need to establish positive dental habits from an early age.  As as teenagers, it is of the utmost importance to continue to reinforce these habits to make sure they maintain a proper oral routine.  These habits will prevent larger and more serious oral health problems, and set the stage for lifelong dental health and positive habits.   General tips for dental care for teens and adults include the following:

  • Brush twice daily for two minutes at a time, preferably with an electric toothbrush
  • Floss at least once nightly to remove the particles that brushing may have missed.
  • Use mouthwash or an oral irrigator to cleanse in between posterior teeth.
  • Rinse or have a cup of water after each meal. Especially for patients with braces, rinsing helps remove food particles that stick on metal braces or clear retainers. This also helps to prevent bad breath that can occur when braces or aligner trays contain food particles or bacteria.

  To learn more about common oral care concerns for teens, contact Dental Designs of Maryland with locations in White Marsh, MD and Hanover, MD.