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Dental Care for Teenagers (13 - 18 Years Old)

Discover the importance of oral health in teenagers. Learn how to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues with effective habits for teens.

Preventive Dental Care


Published on 25 Apr 2024


By Thomson Team


Why is oral health important in teenagers? 

Oral healthcare for teenagers is essential for their overall well-being. It plays a considerable role in their overall well-being and development. Establishing good oral hygiene habits early in life can contribute to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Here are some key reasons why oral healthcare is important for teens:

  1. Prevention of tooth decay and cavities:

    • Teenagers are susceptible to tooth decay and cavities, often due to poor dietary habits and inadequate oral hygiene practices. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups help prevent these issues.

  2. Gum disease prevention:

    • Good oral hygiene practices, including proper brushing and flossing, help prevent gum disease. Gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, is common among teenagers and can be addressed through consistent oral care.

  3. Orthodontic health:

    • Many teenagers undergo orthodontic treatment, such as braces, to correct misaligned teeth or bite issues. Proper oral care during orthodontic treatment is crucial to prevent cavities and maintain overall oral health.

  4. Development of lifelong habits:

    • Establishing good oral health habits during adolescence lays the foundation for a lifetime of healthy practices. Teenagers who prioritise oral care are more likely to continue these habits into adulthood.

  5. Enhanced self-esteem:

    • Oral health is linked to self-esteem and confidence. Teens with healthy teeth and fresh breath are more likely to feel good about themselves and interact confidently with peers.

  6. Prevention of bad breath:

    • Poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath, a common concern among teenagers. Maintaining fresh breath and overall oral health can be achieved through consistent brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. These practices not only help prevent bad breath but also ensure a clean and healthy mouth.

  7. Prevention of oral infections:

    • Oral infections, such as abscesses or infections in the gums or teeth, can be painful and require prompt attention. Good oral hygiene practices help prevent these infections.

  8. Alignment and bite function:

    • Maintaining proper oral health is essential for the correct alignment of teeth and proper bite function. Addressing issues early can prevent more complex problems in the future.

  9. Overall health connection:

    • Oral health is intrinsically linked to overall health. Poor oral hygiene has been associated with several systemic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Therefore, by maintaining good oral health, teenagers are also supporting their broader health and well-being.

  10. Prevention of habits like teeth grinding:

    • Teenagers may develop habits such as teeth grinding (bruxism), particularly in response to stress. Dentists can offer valuable advice on how to manage and prevent these behaviors effectively.

I am a teen, how should I care for my oral health?

Caring for oral health during the teenage years involves a combination of good oral hygiene practices, a healthy diet, and regular dental check-ups. Here is a comprehensive guide on how teens can maintain optimal oral health:

  1. Brushing:

    • Brush teeth at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bedtime.

    • Use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities.

    • Brush for at least two minutes, covering all surfaces of the teeth.

  2. Flossing:

    • Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles between teeth.

    • Proper flossing helps prevent cavities and gum disease.

  3. Regular dental check-ups:

    • Visit the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings, typically every six months.

    • Regular dental visits help catch potential issues early and prevent further problems.

  4. Orthodontic care:

  5. Dietary choices:

    • Limit sugary snacks and beverages, as they can contribute to tooth decay.

    • Opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

    • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

  6. Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol:

    • Despite the legal restrictions on minors purchasing and consuming alcohol and tobacco products, approximately 80% of smokers become addicted before reaching the age of 21.

    • Tobacco use, including smoking, can cause oral cancer, gum disease, and various other dental issues.

    • It is also advisable to limit alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking can negatively impact oral health.

  7. Protect your teeth during sports:

    • If you play contact sports, consider using a mouthguard to protect your teeth from injuries.

  8. Stay hydrated:

    • Drinking water helps maintain good oral health by rinsing away bacteria and promoting saliva production.

  9. Manage stress:

    • Stress can contribute to teeth grinding (bruxism). If you grind your teeth, discuss it with your dentist for possible solutions.

  10. Stay informed:

    • Learn about good oral hygiene practices and stay informed about any specific oral health concerns you may have.

  11. Wisdom teeth:

    • Be aware of the development of wisdom teeth and consult your dentist on their management.

  12. Oral health products:

    • Choose oral care products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash, that are suitable for your specific needs.

  13. Consistent routine:

    • Establish a consistent oral care routine, and make it a habit. Consistency is key to maintaining good oral health.

  14. Educate yourself on oral health:

    • Understand the importance of oral health and how it contributes to overall well-being. Arm yourself with knowledge so that you can be motivated to prioritise and maintain good oral hygiene practices.

  15. Peer support:

    • Promote good oral health practices among your friends to foster a supportive and health-conscious environment.

Teens should take an active role in their oral health, as good habits developed during adolescence often carry into adulthood. If there are specific concerns or questions, do not hesitate to consult with a dentist or dental hygienist for personalised advice.

What are common dental procedures done for teens?

Several dental procedures may be performed for teens to address various oral health concerns, including preventive, restorative, and orthodontic procedures. Here are some common dental procedures for teenagers:

  1. Dental cleanings and check-ups:

  2. X-rays:

    • X-rays help dentists assess the condition of teeth, detect cavities, and monitor the development of wisdom teeth.

  3. Orthodontic assessments:

    • Teens often undergo orthodontic assessments to determine if they need braces or other orthodontic treatment to correct misaligned teeth or bite issues.

  4. Braces:

    • Orthodontic braces are commonly used to straighten misaligned teeth and correct bite problems. There are various types of braces available, including traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and invisible aligners (like Invisalign).

  5. Dental sealants:

    • Sealants are thin coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars to protect against decay. They are especially beneficial for teens with deep pits and fissures in their teeth.

  6. Fluoride treatments:

    • Fluoride treatments help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. These treatments are often recommended during routine dental visits.

  7. Cavity fillings:

    • If a teen has a cavity, the dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and fill the space with a dental filling (commonly composite resin or amalgam).

  8. Wisdom teeth extraction:

    • Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, typically emerge in the late teenage years. If they are at risk of becoming impacted or causing crowding, a dentist may recommend their extraction to prevent potential issues.

  9. Root canal therapy:

    • In cases of severe tooth decay or infection, a root canal may be necessary to remove the infected pulp and save the tooth.

  10. Tooth extractions:

    • If a tooth is severely damaged or cannot be saved through other means, the dentist may recommend extraction.

  11. Mouthguards:

    • Custom-fitted mouthguards may be provided for teens involved in contact sports to protect their teeth from injuries.

  12. Teeth whitening:

    • Teeth whitening procedures, either in-office or with take-home kits, may be recommended for teens seeking a brighter smile. However, this is often considered on an individual basis.

  13. Gum disease treatment:

    • Scaling and root planing may be performed if a teenager shows signs of gingivitis or more advanced stages of gum disease.

  14. Dental crowns:

    • Dental crowns may be used to restore the shape and function of a tooth that has been damaged or weakened.

It is important for parents and teenagers to communicate openly with the dentist about any concerns or questions regarding recommended dental procedures. Regular dental check-ups are key to early detection and prevention of dental issues.


How often should teenagers visit the dentist?

Teens should typically visit the dentist for a check-up and cleaning every six months. However, the frequency may vary based on individual oral health needs.

When should teenagers start using fluoride toothpaste?

Teenagers should use fluoride toothpaste, a practice that ideally begins in childhood. Fluoride helps protect teeth against decay. Use an adequate amount of fluoridated toothpaste every time you brush your teeth.

How can teenagers prevent bad breath?

Good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning, can help prevent bad breath. Staying hydrated and avoiding tobacco products are also important.

Are braces the only option for straightening teeth?

Braces are a common orthodontic treatment, but there are alternatives such as invisible aligners (e.g. Invisalign). The choice depends on the individual's orthodontic needs.

Do wisdom teeth always need to be removed?

Not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed. It depends on factors like whether they are causing issues such as pain, impaction, or crowding. Dentists may recommend removal if there is a risk of future problems.

How can teenagers prevent cavities?

Preventing cavities involves regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, a balanced diet, limiting sugary snacks and beverages, and regular dental check-ups.

Can teenagers get teeth whitening treatments?

Teeth whitening treatments are generally suitable for teenagers, but it is essential to consult with a dentist. Professional treatments or at-home options may be considered based on individual needs.

How can teenagers manage orthodontic discomfort?

Orthodontic discomfort is common after adjustments. Over-the-counter pain relievers, orthodontic wax for braces, and following orthodontist instructions can help manage discomfort.

What should teenagers do if they have a dental emergency?

In case of a dental emergency, such as a knocked-out tooth or severe pain, teenagers should contact their dentist immediately. Having a dental first aid kit and knowing what to do in specific situations is important.

Can oral health affect overall health in teenagers?

Yes, oral health is connected to overall health. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to various systemic health issues, emphasising the importance of maintaining good oral health.

Is chewing gum bad for oral health?

Chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial for oral health because it stimulates saliva production. This increased saliva flow helps neutralise acids and cleanse the mouth, aiding in the prevention of cavities. However, it is important to avoid gum that contains sugar, as it can contribute to tooth decay.

How can teenagers deal with stress-related teeth grinding (bruxism)?

Stress management techniques and discussing the issue with a dentist can help manage teeth grinding. In some cases, a mouthguard may be recommended.

It is crucial for teenagers and their parents to discuss any specific concerns or questions with their dentist for personalised advice on oral healthcare. Regular communication with oral healthcare professionals contributes to maintaining optimal oral health.

For more information, contact us:

Thomson Dental Centre

Call: 6255 0770

WhatsApp: 8716 9594

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