Tips for Teens
Soda and Sports Drinks
Teens must spend more time at their desks studying and they tend to sip on sugar laden drinks while they are concentrating. This leads to constant bathing of the tooth structure in sugar and acids for hours at a time. Sugars and acids can erode and permanently damage tooth enamel. Some drinks that have healthy sounding names like Vitamin Water still have about 10 teaspoons of sugar for every 12 ounces. Sports minded adolescents also have an increase in tooth decay from continual sipping of sweetened sports nourishment drinks during practices and games. Water is always the best drink for your teeth and body. Some commercial waters even have electrolytes without the sugar for better bodily recovery after exhaustive activities.
If teens must drink soda and other sugar filled beverages (smoothies, boba, pressed juice), they should sip them through a straw. It can help decrease the amount of sugary liquid that comes in contact with the tooth. After drinking these harmful beverages, immediately rinse your mouth out with water. Remember that the more frequent you expose your teeth to the acids and sugars the more likely you are to damage the teeth.
More and more teens are frequenting popular coffee houses for socialization, studying or just the caffeine itself. Caffeine is an addictive substance and not a good idea for our children. But another problem with these drinks and teeth is that a lot of kids get coffee or tea with large amounts of added sugar. Try to avoid these caffeinated sugar drinks all together for a healthier body and mind.
With more chances to make food choices without parental supervision, a lot of teens will opt out of vegetable dishes and move towards quick and easy to eat sweet snack foods. They might be trying to grab a bite between activities or not want to take time to cook something nutritious. However, this kind of behavior will promote more tooth decay and decrease overall health. Teaching children how to take the time to make nutritious choices will help them for a lifetime. Choose water, fruit, raw vegetables, beef jerky, nuts, and other natural foods as snacks instead of chips, candy and soda.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Kids with asthma and allergies tend to breathe out of their mouth and decrease the saliva content. Saliva protects the tooth enamel by washing away the sugars, acids, and other food particles. Kids who play lot of sports also mouth breath and tend to get swollen and irritated gums. Sleeping with your mouth open is also a time when there is decreased saliva flow and more risk for decay. Always rinse your mouth out with water after heavy mouth breathing to help reduce the effects of a dry mouth.