The summer holidays means more time to spend together as a family. And that means you might become more aware of your child’s dental habits and problems. We look at 4 common teen dental problems to be aware of and why summer is the best time to treat them…
Teeth grinding (bruxism)
If you hear strange grating noises in the middle of the night coming from your child’s room, it may be that they have a problem with tooth grinding. This can indicate stress but, according to research by the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, can also be a sign of bullying. 65% of 13 to 15-year-olds in the study experiencing verbal bullying were found to grind or clench their teeth in the night as opposed to 17% who were not suffering bullying.
This summer is the ideal time to try talking to your child about any problems they might be having, whether at school or at home, and help them find a solution. Teeth grinding can cause wear to the teeth, sensitivity, headaches and facial pain, so get it checked out by a dentist who will assess any damage and may fit a mouth guard to wear at night.
Teens need lots of energy, which unfortunately means they easily succumb to high-sugar and high-fat convenience foods and fizzy drinks. This might especially be the case while they spend long days out with friends or staying up into the small hours playing video games or they may even develop bad habits of hitting the snack cabinet at times of stress.
Summer is a great time to try and implement a few changes in their diet. Encourage healthy eating as a family with filling, low-sugar ingredients such as wholemeals, nuts and seeds, leafy veg and high-protein meats and dairy, which will make your child less likely to snack in between meals.
Limit what sugary foods you have in the house and perhaps put some time aside one or two nights a week to create some healthy go-to snacks all the family will love, from pre-cut veg sticks and dips to rice cakes, and have a fresh supply of fruit as well as no-added-sugar juice and milk drinks. The hot weather means now is also a good time to introduce them to drinking more water!
Your teen’s wisdom teeth can start coming through from around age 15, so be alert to any pain they may express. This shouldn’t be too uncomfortable unless there’s a problem, in which case you should book a dental appointment. If the dentist assumes they are going to be a problem in future, they might recommend having them removed while your teen is still young to avoid any complications caused by the developing roots at a later stage.
Crooked teeth can also be an issue many teens are concerned about once all teeth have come through. They can lead to food becoming trapped, which makes proper teeth cleaning more difficult and can even cause problems when eating. Visit your dentist to see whether teeth straightening might be a good choice for your teen. Nowadays there are many kinds of braces, some which are almost invisible, like the Invisalign and Inman Aligner, meaning your child won’t have to feel self-conscious about their teeth, either in the short term or the long!
A great way to encourage a healthy relationship with their teeth is to bring them along to the dentist for a regular check-up – around once every six months. The summer holidays are the ideal time and we’ll be able to answer any questions about oral hygiene, teeth whitening or teeth realignment. Contact our Notting Hill dental surgery today.