Getting your child to wear a mouthguard
If your child requires a mouthguard, it can be difficult getting them to not only wear it, but remember to wear it. A properly fitted mouthguard will provide several degrees of protection, and if it is custom fitted by your dentist it can be structured for a specific sport.
- While at the dentist have them explain to your child that these are comfortable, and if taken care of properly should be of no hassle to them.
- Though it may seem extreme, you need to explain to them the consequences of not wearing one, and every time they have a game or practice, encourage or remind them to wear it.
- Explaining the importance of keeping the mouthguard clean will help them also have a better understanding for their oral health
What if I want to use tooth whiteners?
Home tooth whiteners can be effective. If a product contains bleach (peroxide), it will whiten your teeth. But treatments vary in the amount of hydrogen peroxide they contain, and the amount of application time they recommend. The younger you are, and the less mature your teeth are, the more the concentration or percent of hydrogen peroxide a teeth-whitening system contains and the amount of time it’s in contact with your teeth that determines its effectiveness. The appropriate application time and concentration of the product may be different for younger teens than for adults.
While at-home kits are safe for adults as long as you follow directions, treatments under the supervision of your dentist are often more powerful than available at-home kits, and offer more safety measures such as oral and gum protection than over-the-counter kits. Your dentist or dental hygienist can offer the best advice for whitening your smile.
The best option is to seek your dentist’s help and advice in whitening your teeth, but if you wants to use home tooth whiteners, the best advice is to wait until you are at least age 16 before you do so. Tooth discoloration is generally a problem that increases with age, but some teens may feel the need to whiten their teeth, and some may have tooth discoloration or uneven tooth color due to injury, medications, or removal of orthodontic appliances.
Teens who still have some primary teeth as well as mostly permanent may have uneven tooth color as the newer permanent teeth grow in. It can be difficult to correct the varying color shades between primary and adult teeth, and to get the best results, teens should wait until all their permanent teeth are in place.
Another reason to wait for a full set of permanent teeth is that the enamel on new teeth needs time to mature. The average age for the loss of the last baby tooth is about twelve, and once all the permanent teeth are in place, it takes about two more years for the enamel to mature, a process called enamel calcification. Before the calcification is complete, the tooth is more permeable, and during this time period the nerve of the tooth (the pulp) is enlarged. The tooth’s permeability decreases with age and calcification, which means bleaching products may work faster on kids and teens that it does on adults. This makes it more difficult to use whitening products appropriately. Bleaching teeth before they are fully mature can expose the pulp to more peroxide than intended or recommended, and can cause significant pain or irritation.
Remember, it is best to wait until at least age 16 to whiten your teeth.