Going to the dentist was just one of the things your younger child came to expect, just like getting their shots and annual physical checkups but next come the teenage years and the changes in attitude that go along with adolescence. As children mature their lifestyles develop and dental issues shift. Instead of them eating too much Halloween candy for instance, parents may have to start worrying about the dangers of tobacco use. Peer approval becomes very important to teenagers and they may feel pressured to go along with the crowd even when they know better.
Some dangers aren’t so well established as smoking or chewing tobacco are. Body piercing has become more and more popular with the younger set and the tongue is a favorite target. Oral piercings increase the risk of chipping or breaking a tooth while eating or drinking.
There is a real possibility for infection any time the tongue is compromised. Swelling is a serious consequence that in severe cases could impair the ability to breathe. Unsanitary conditions have been found in some piercing parlors which puts the customer at an increased risk from dirty and contaminated tools of the trade.
On the go snacking has become an accepted habit which can hardly be avoided considering our fast paced way of living. Trying to keep up with school assignments, sports team activities and after school jobs puts teenagers at the top of a list of high risk candidates for tooth decay, due in part to a habitual consumption of fast foods.
There are some precautions that parents can take. Make sure there are healthy foods on hand both at home and in your teen’s backpack. Switch out those colas and sports drinks for bottles of fluoridated water. Whole fruits and freshly cut vegetable are good substitutes for energy bars or chips.
At this age young people sometimes pay more attention to advice from adult figures other than their parents. Dr. Patterson is happy to talk to her patients about the importance of preserving their oral health. Call the office @ 720-721-3600.