Adolescence is a time of increasing self-awareness, especially when it comes to your child’s appearance. During this stage, children will notice if they have crooked teeth or if their teeth are discolored. Cavities are also more common in teens than any other time in their life due to increasing freedom — leading to poor diet choices and a lack of brushing.
Despite his or her oral health issues, your teen may become more resistant to coming to the dentist, but it’s essential they do in order to correct any problems and continue to maintain a strong foundation for their future oral health.
When necessary, our pediatric team at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics will discuss options for both braces and whitening for your teen. We may also take a panoramic X-ray of your child’s jaw to check the development of third molars (wisdom teeth) to see if removal is indicated.
Following are some frequently asked questions and answers for parents of children between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Our pediatric specialists at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics are always available for a consultation to answer any other questions you may have regarding your child’s dental health care needs.
- How can my adolescent child prevent dental problems?
Dental caries are most common in teenagers who frequently drink soft drinks and sports drinks. While sports drinks work well for athletes who need to hydrate, they are also full of sugar and acid that promote tooth decay. Frequent use of sports drinks or soft drinks promotes tooth decay. A better alternative is plain (tap or bottled) water in between meals.
- Are sealants good for a teenager’s teeth?
Yes, sealants are a very effective preventive measure that helps reduce development of caries on the back molars by approximately 70%. They are placed on the decay-prone areas of the back molars on the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- What should I do if my teenager grinds their teeth?
Teeth grinding is a serious issue, especially in teenagers and young adults. You should bring up this issue to your pediatric dentist at Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics, because grinding can lead to problems with the TMJ later on. The stress can cause pain and soreness. In order to remedy the situation, we may prescribe a special custom-made mouth guard.
- Should my teenager wear a mouth guard for sports?
We highly recommend mouth guards for all kids that play any type of contact sports including football, hockey and soccer. Mouth guards do more than prevent just tooth injuries. They are also effective in reducing concussions and more severe brain injuries. There are many options including over-the-counter mouth guards, but custom mouth guards offer the best protection by far. We invite you to come in to discuss the benefits and our process of creating custom mouth guards when the time comes.
- Is it safe for my teenager to chew gum?
Yes. Sugar free gum is actually helpful because it helps stimulate a constant salivary flow, which naturally cleans teeth. Just make sure it is sugar free!
- What can my teenager do about bad breath?
Bad breath is a concern for most teenagers. Good oral hygiene practices that include regular brushing and flossing will help. Brushing the tongue is also important, as plaque can coat the surface of the tongue and contribute to bad breath. Beyond good oral hygiene practices, if bad breath still persists, consult with us to rule out any underlying issues. Asthma, sinus and throat infections can also contribute to bad breath.
For the best of the best in Comprehensive Pediatric Dental Care in New York City, call Park Smiles NYC Pediatrics today at 212-988-6727. We look forward to serving you with an unsurpassed commitment to comfort, compassion and empathetic care!