The middle school and high school years can be extremely stressful. Kids are under pressure to get good grades, get into college, and fit in with their peers. Then there are the personal challenges of physical development and self-esteem. The last thing kids need is to feel embarrassed about their teeth. Unfortunately, recent studies show that more and more teens feel self-conscious when they smile or laugh. Your family dentist in San Diego can help your teen protect his or her teeth with proper dental care. If your child has already sustained dental damage, he can provide effective care to restore his or her bite and confidence.
Studies Show That Teens Feel Embarrassed about Their Teeth
In 2013, the Health and Social Care Centre in England regarding dental health among 12 and 15-year-olds. Sadly, the study found that, in the last three months, about 30% of 12-year-olds had felt embarrassed to laugh or smile because of the look of their teeth. 28% of 15-year-olds had felt self-conscious. The percentage of teens who felt uncomfortable was almost directly proportionate to the number of adolescents who had experienced dental decay.
Although this study was conducted in England, the findings are certainly relevant here in the US. According to 2004 statistics from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 59% of adolescents age 12 to 19 had suffered dental decay. 20% of patients in this age group had untreated cavities. Undoubtedly, a large number of these teens have felt embarrassed about their smiles due to their damaged teeth.
How Kids Can Protect Their Teeth
There are several ways that you can protect your youngster’s healthy teeth and beautiful grin. These steps include:
- Proper dental hygiene: Ideally, you should encourage good at-home dental care from the time your child’s first teeth come in. Like their parents, kids and teens should brush at least twice a day, floss at least once, and use antibacterial mouthwash. It is especially important to brush about 30 minutes after eating.
- Routine office visits: Although routine home care is important, it will not fully protect your child’s smile. Schedule cleanings and exams every six months, starting around your child’s first birthday. By beginning oral care at a young age, you can better ensure that he or she enjoys a beautiful smile and healthy self-esteem during the difficult teenage years.
- Healthy diet: Some foods and drinks are so detrimental that even the best oral care will not fully combat their harmful effects. Sodas are one of the worst offenders. According to the British study cited above, 16% of the 12-year-olds surveyed reported having sugary drinks at least 4 times a day. 14% of 15-year-olds reported similar sugar consumption. Along with sodas, children and teens should limit candy, fruit juices, and foods with high acid contents.
Treatment Options from Your Family Dentist in San Diego
Fortunately, if your teen has already suffered dental damage, Dr. Georgaklis offers several treatments to improve his or her smile and self-esteem. Fillings are one of the most common solutions for dental decay. Thanks to our tooth-colored composite resin, our dental fillings will blend naturally with your child’s grin. Although Dr. Georgaklis typically recommends cosmetic care only for adult patients, some teens may be good candidates for teeth whitening. Dr. Georgaklis will carefully examine your child’s teeth, and he will make sure that your teen is emotionally ready before he recommends any elective treatment. Finally, orthodontic treatment can improve your child’s appearance, as well as his or her dental function and jaw health.
Contact Dr. Georgaklis for Compassionate Family Care
Schedule an appointment with your family dentist in San Diego to learn more about how to protect your child’s appearance and self-esteem. The teenage years are challenging enough without the added difficulty of a compromised smile. George Georgaklis, DDS offers compassionate care for children, teens, and adults of all ages.