Teen’s Teeth

Why is a healthy smile important?

An attractive and healthy smile is important when meeting people and making friends. And it can boost your confidence and help you feel good about yourself. If you don't look after your teeth and gums properly you could suffer from a number of different conditions that will make you stand out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons:

  • Bad breath
  • Stained teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth loss
  • Dental erosion

Why is a healthy diet important for my oral health?

Every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour. This is because the sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque and produces harmful acids. Plaque is a build-up of bacteria which forms on your teeth.

It is better to have three or four meals a day rather than lots of snacks.

What is dental erosion?

Dental erosion is the gradual loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attacks. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth. If it is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed and your teeth can look discoloured and become sensitive.

Drink up

Acidic foods and drinks cause dental erosion.

Still water and milk are the best things to drink.

Try to drink fruit juice just at mealtimes. If you want to drink fruit juices between meals, try diluting them with water.


Avoid sugary snacks. If you need to eat between meals try these foods instead:

  • Plain popcorn.
  • Nuts.
  • Cheese.
  • Breadsticks.
  • Plain yogurt.
  • Rice cakes.
  • Unsweetened cereal.
  • Plain bagels.
  • Fresh soup.
  • Raw vegetable pieces.
  • Fresh fruit.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body (such as the mouth). It can be spread through oral sex. Practising safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of getting HPV.

You may hear about teenage girls being offered the HPV vaccine to help prevent the virus. Talk to someone at your medical practice, or your parents or guardians, if you want to know more about this. Your dentist may ask you questions about your lifestyle choices and general health because these may affect the health of your mouth.

How do I look?

Some people are unhappy with how their teeth look and feel self-conscious smiling in photos or in social situations. But you can have treatment to correct any problems.

How can I improve my smile?

Orthodontic treatment (braces) will straighten or move your teeth to improve their appearance and the way they work. It can also help to improve the long-term health of your teeth, gums and jaw joints by spreading the biting pressure over all the teeth. Many people want to have whiter teeth. The only person who can whiten your teeth legally for you is a dentist. You have to be 18 or older.

How long will I need to wear brace?

It depends on how severe the problem is, and it may take anything from a few months to two-and-a-half years. However, most people can be treated in one to two years.

What are the dangers of mouth piercing?

  • They can cause gum recession.
  • Teeth can chip and break.
  • Infection

How can I protect my teeth when playing sports?

A mouthguard will help protect you against broken and damaged teeth, and even a broken or dislocated jaw.

Professionally made mouthguards offer better protection than shop bought DIY ones.

Top tips for teens

  1. Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day. Use a toothbrush with a small- to medium-sized brush head with soft to medium bristles, and brush for two minutes.
  2. You should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm fluoride.
  3. Have sugary food and drinks just at mealtimes.
  4. Visit your dental team at least once a year, or as often as they recommend.
  5. Clean in between your teeth with ‘interdental' brushes or floss at least once a day, to help remove plaque and food from between your teeth.
  6. Use a straw if you have fizzy drinks, as this helps the drink to go to the back of your mouth and reduces the number of acid attacks on your teeth. Rinse with water after acidic foods/drinks.
  7. Wait for at least 30 minutes to an hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before you brush your teeth.
  8. Chew sugar-free gum after eating to help make more saliva and cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
  9. Be careful about any consumption of sports drinks and also your frequency of sugar intake when studying for exams especially sugary jelly sweets.

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