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Teenagers experience a lot of emotional and physical changes during those years. Parents usually observe and guide their child’s physical and emotional health, but dental health is important to remember as well. A teenager’s mouth undergoes changes, as well as the rest of the body. Teenagers’ lifestyle decisions and actions can affect their breath, teeth, and gums. Here are a few things you may not have thought about when it comes to your teenager and their healthy mouth:

Protect during contact sports

Teenagers participating in contact sports should consider various mouth guard options to ensure mouth safety. Many active adolescents participate in high-energy sports that do not require mouth guards. Soccer, for example, has a high risk of contact to the face by competitors or the ball. Parents and teens should consider the risks and make good decisions about mouth protection.

Know what is in that drink

Most teenagers understand the effect of sugary or unhealthy foods on their body and teeth, but they overlook drinks. Sodas are very high in sugar, as are sweetened coffee drinks that have become a favorite of today’s teenagers. Even diet sodas negatively affect the teeth. Diet sodas have high levels of phosphoric acid, which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Some research studies link energy drinks and sports drinks to erosion or thinning of tooth enamel, which leaves teeth more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.

Understand the effects of mouth piercings

Teenagers have a need to express themselves, sometimes with choices that affect their appearance, including “mouth art.” Piercings can harbor bacteria and lead to infections, swollen gums, and bad breath. Therefore, piercings should be surgical grade stainless steel and cleaned thoroughly after meals and snacks.

The best way for your teenager to enjoy a sparkling smile and strong teeth is to practice good oral and health habits. Parents should remind and encourage self-care behaviors and set appointments with a dentist. Keeping twice-yearly appointments with a dental professional will help to ensure a healthy and bright smile for your teenager. At Brier Creek Pediatric Dentistry, we strive to provide your children with the highest quality of dental care available. We specialize in working with patients from infancy through the teenage years.