How to Tell If Your Teenager Has Tooth Decay

Dentist Blog

While younger kids may have no problems allowing their parents to check their teeth, you may not find it as easy to monitor oral hygiene when kids turn into teenagers. At this age, kids are capable of brushing their own teeth; they are also likely to take any oral hygiene interference from parents as an insult.

This can pose problems if you think that your teenager is a bit slack when it comes to cleaning their teeth. Plus, as your teen becomes more independent, you may have less control over their diet, and your child may have more access to snacks and sugary drinks that might cause tooth decay. Given that your teenager isn't likely to let you look in their mouth to check for problems, you may need to use some parental savvy to spot potential issues.

How Do Your Child's Teeth Look?

While many teenagers may give up talking to their parents, you may still be able to catch a look at their teeth from time to time. Look out for signs of decay such as white, grey or even black spots on the teeth. Red and swollen looking gum mays also be a problem.

How Does Your Child's Breath Smell?

If you get the chance to get up close and personal to your teenager, you may be able to check how their breath smells. Tooth decay often comes hand in hand with bad breath. If your child's breath smells bad over a few days and you can't see an obvious reason why their breath smells bad (such as food they may have eaten recently), then they may be developing dental problems.

Does Your Child Show Signs of Pain?

Teenagers may get the odd twinge in a tooth and not tell you about it. Many kids prefer to avoid discussing this kind of thing with their parents on the basis that the pain may go away if they ignore it.

However, you may be able to spot if your child has a toothache by keeping an eye on how and what they eat. For example, kids may stop eating sugary things if they have decay problems as sugar makes the pain worse. Wincing when eating something cold (like ice cream) or hard (like an apple) may also be a pointer that there is a problem.

If you think that your child may have decay problems, you're going to need to raise the issue to see if they'll front up and discuss any problems with you. Talking to them about things you've noticed may make your child more likely to open up; if it doesn't, you may want to make an appointment for your teen to have a check-up with your paediatric dentist.


14 June 2016

Dental Health: Not To Be Taken For Granted

As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.