Adolescence is a difficult time. It is a period in your child’s life when they are between childhood and adulthood. There are plenty of things going on in their lives, including peer pressure to try new things such as drugs and tobacco or oral piercings. Your teen is also making more choices on their own, including what they eat and drink. Those choices can have a direct impact on their smile.

Your teen needs to see our pediatric dentists, Dr. Conway Jensen and Dr. Esther Schara, every six months for regular cleanings and exams. In addition to routine care, our doctors may be the first ones to spot a problem with your teen’s smile, or they may recognize the need for orthodontic treatment.

In addition to encouraging your teen to brush and floss, you should also talk with them about their diet. Sports drinks, energy drinks, and meals and snacks that are high in sugar and starch can create tooth decay and promote the development of plaque.

Alcohol, drugs and tobacco use can cause dental damage and lead to gum disease and eventually loose or lost teeth. Using smokeless tobacco puts your child at a very high risk for oral cancer. This type of cancer is often painless in its early stages. If left untreated, it can lead to damaged gums, lost teeth, or surgery. It can even be fatal. If your teen is using smokeless tobacco, they should have regular oral cancer screenings. Symptoms of oral cancer include changes in the color and texture of the soft tissue of the mouth, problems with normal oral functions and sores that don’t heal.

You teen may want to express their individuality by piercing their lips or their tongue. While piercings are popular, they can also chip or crack your teen’s teeth, allow infection to penetrate your child’s mouth and body, and even lead to problems with the nervous system.

Our doctors can talk with your child about avoiding unhealthy behaviors and can help them with tobacco cessation. If you have concerns about your teen’s oral health, or if it is just time for their regular checkup, call 360-666-0530 today. Our team at A Children's Dentist will be happy to talk with you about teen dentistry in Battle Ground, Washington.