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Though many teenagers are able to maintain their oral health, late nights and bad habits might result in your teenager neglecting their regular dental care routine.

After all, as your child progresses into the throes of teenage-dom, they might start to search for independence in new ways. Between the pressure exerted on them from their peers and an often chaotic social life, brushing their teeth twice per day is the last thing on their mind. But some terrible habits have the potential to follow them into adulthood, putting them at risk for oral health concerns in the long term.

If you notice your teen engaging in any of the following habits, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist for children and teens.

Smoking

Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst habits for your oral health and many life-long smokers begin their journey toward tobacco as a teenager. According to the American Cancer Society, almost nine out of 10 smokers started this habit before they turned 18. Worse yet, nearly three in four high school smokers will continue smoking into adulthood.

Cigarette smoke has the potential to encourage gum disease, yellow teeth, bad breath, and worse. In particularly bad cases, smokers have also experienced jaw bone loss and oral cancers. Even with other healthy habits, like brushing twice per day, your teen might still experience the deleterious affects of smoking. Encourage your teen to stay away from cigarettes and be honest with them when they start this harmful habit.

Nail biting

Though nail biting typically starts at an earlier age, many teenagers indulge in this habit as high school progresses. Between coping with harder exams at increasing volumes, the threat of college, and trying to juggle social and work responsibilities, it’s only natural that they find relief in bad habits like nail biting.

Unfortunately, regular nail biting can alter the alignment of your teeth and promote splintering and cracking in your tooth’s enamel. This can result in sensitive teeth or other painful conditions that only a dentist for children and teens can handle. If you notice your teen biting their nails, try to suggest other ways to relieve stress like going for a walk or getting them a stress ball. Nail polish and regular nail trimming can also deter your teen from biting their nails in the first place. With more than a little luck, they can become one of the many people who give up this habit before it gets out of hand (err, nail).

Teeth grinding

Another sign of a stressed-out teenager is teeth grinding. Unfortunately, you might not notice your child is grinding their teeth until the ill side effects start to show. This is because it often happens at night when your child isn’t even aware it’s happening.

Jaw pain, headaches, and tooth pain are all common symptoms of this frustrating condition. If you’re concerned that your teen is grinding their teeth, be sure to bring them into a dentist for children and teens for an X-ray. This can confirm your fears and enable you to start preventing the harmful effects of teeth grinding.

A similar condition to grinding is clenching. This is common in teens who start to develop anxiety disorders around this time. Clenching during stressful situations is typical, but too much stress can encourage clenching around the clock. While this isn’t as harmful as grinding, your dentist for children will tell you that this action can promote similar symptoms to grinding.

Sports

Your athletic teen loves to play, but their oral health might suffer when their mouth collides with a shoulder or football. Without the proper mouth guards and safety precautions, your teen might have to cope with loosened teeth, cracked enamel, and even jaw issues. The risk is heightened even more if they play a contact sport like football, hockey, or even basketball. If your teenager loves to go out onto the field or court, be sure to get their teeth checked at the pediatric dentist regularly.

Your teenager may not know it, but some of their bad habits can lead to the long-term damage of their oral health. If you notice your child suffering from any of these bad habits, be sure to talk to Smilez Pediatric for advice and information today.

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Summer is one of the best times of the year. Not only are spirits high but there are plenty of activities and treats to indulge in throughout the season. If you’re a parent, however, you should pay especially close attention to your child’s oral health.

Summer is a season of health but it’s also known for more than a few sweet treats. When you’re aware of the following common dental health issues, you’ll be prepared for anything summer has to throw at you. Here’s what you should watch out for over the next few months:

Sweet treats

Summer is ripe with fresh fruits and vegetables, but no child can resist the cool temptation of ice cream. Cold treats are a summer staple with more than a few children pawing at their parents’ wallets whenever an ice cream truck rolls by. Paired with the sticky, sugary treats associated with fairs, festivals, and theme parks, your child will encounter hundreds — if not thousands — of sweet treats throughout the season.

These sweet, sticky treats are your mouth’s worst enemy, especially among children. If these sugars aren’t removed from your child’s mouth regularly, then they’re more likely to experience tartar buildup, cavities, or even tooth loss. After all, it’s common for kids to lack the fine motor skills necessary to brush their teeth properly. That’s why it’s vital you visit a pediatric dentist at least twice a year to check up on your child’s dental health. Try scheduling an appointment with a pediatric dentist before the school year starts to get them back to school on the right foot.

Acidic treats

Those healthy fruits that were just mentioned can also create some deleterious health effects. Many summer citrus fruits are known for their high acid content. This acid can wear down the protective layer of enamel on your tooth, making them more sensitive with repeated exposure to acids.

While you shouldn’t prevent your child from indulging in healthy treats, you should encourage healthy habits along with them. Ensure your child drinks plenty of water with citrus fruits to dilute some of the acids. Try implementing reusable straws in the home to prevent acidic beverages from making contact with your child’s teeth, too.

Chomping ice

There’s nothing better than a cup of ice cold water on a hot day. Unfortunately, children are tempted to chomp down on these hard ice crystals when they run out of water.

This can be detrimental for your child’s oral health. These hard minerals are difficult to break apart and can cause tooth damage over time. It’s not uncommon for children to chip a tooth on a particularly cold piece of ice, even if the drink has been resting on the table for a while. If your child simply can’t resist biting down on a refreshing ice cube, offer them a straw or reusable ice cubes.

Falls and accidents

Playing outside comes with its fair share of dangers as well. Trips and falls while running around the playground are a leading cause of chipped teeth among children, especially in the warm days of summer. This risk is heightened if your child partakes in potentially dangerous activities like roller skating, biking, or skateboarding. A simple fall is enough to result in a dental emergency. Just be sure to rely on a pediatric dentist with plenty of experience treating emergency cases.

Avoid falls and other accidents by providing the appropriate protective gear whenever your child goes out to play.

Sports injuries

While the occasional accident is bound to happen in the summer, team sports almost guarantee an injury will happen. While this is incredibly common in high impact sports like football and wrestling, even seemingly innocuous sports can pose a threat to your child’s oral health. Luckily, mouthguards and helmets can help prevent thousands of dental health issues that occur because of high impact sports.

But contact sports aren’t the only threat to your child’s teeth. In fact, swimmers often face higher levels of tooth decay and tooth staining. This is because they spend many hours swimming in chemically treated pools. Particularly dedicated swimmers may even experience the dreaded “swimmers’ calculus” which is akin to tartar buildup on teeth because of frequent mineral exposure in the pool.

Summer doesn’t have to be devastating for your child’s oral health. With the help of an experienced pediatric dentist, your child can continue to thrive throughout the entire year. When you’re looking for a quality family dentist, rely on Smilez Pediatric Dental Group today.

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Maintaining a healthy smile is more than just remembering to brush twice per day, especially when it comes to the smiles of teenagers. Amidst the ups and downs that come with raising a young adult, there are a number of dental changes that will occur at this transitional age. Though many of these oral health issues are the result of poor dental hygiene, far more are the result of factors outside of your teenager’s control.

Smiling teenage girl outdoors on sunny day. Closeup of cute brunette young woman wearing casual clothes.

If you’re one of the many parents raising a young adult, watch out for these common dental issues that might occur in your teenager.

Crooked teeth

As your child turns into a young adult, they might notice their crooked teeth are becoming a health issue. Crooked teeth tend to harbor more bacteria than straight teeth because they’re harder to clean. This might lead to painful consequences including higher numbers of cavities, tooth decay, and even gingivitis. Unfortunately, crooked teeth can also cause a number of physical ailments like a crooked bite and headaches.

Worse yet, crooked teeth might hinder your child’s self-confidence. After all, you can teach your child better cleaning techniques to prevent bacteria build-up from becoming too severe, but teenagers aren’t known for their accepting nature. On top of that, many teenagers place a large amount of their time and energy on their looks. As such, your teenager’s crooked teeth might make them hesitant to smile and interact with others, leading to higher levels of anxiety and stress.

Luckily, braces are a common way to fix this problem. Braces are a popular option at this age since your child has finally developed all their permanent teeth. You can even opt for clear, plastic retainers to adjust tooth alignment in some cases. For more information on braces options for your child, rely on information offered by your local childrens dentists.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth typically come in at the end of your child’s adolescent years, making them a popular issue among teenagers across the globe. Although some people aren’t born with wisdom teeth, the vast majority will have to cope with overcrowding, gum and jaw pain, and headaches as their wisdom teeth start to come in.

This is one of the most important reasons to visit your family dentist regularly. Your pediatric dentist will be able to monitor the growth of these potentially harmful teeth to ensure no issues arise as they come in. After all, many wisdom teeth can even grow in sideways, causing a significant amount of pain. Wisdom teeth also have the potential to damage teeth-correcting procedures, like braces. Ensure your money doesn’t go to waste by relying on local childrens dentiststo monitor the growth of these problematic teeth.

Sports accidents

Whether your child plays soccer, baseball, or football, there’s always a chance that a sudden accident could damage their teeth. Even if your child has been playing for years, the highly competitive world of high school sports has the potential to put any player at risk. But unlike middle school sports and pee-wee leagues, your child’s teeth won’t grow back in high school: if their permanent teeth take on damage, they will likely need significant repairs.

The best way to stop oral health issues from occurring is by encouraging your child to wear a mouthguard when they engage in physical activity. You never know when a sudden fall to a hard floor or a stray elbow to the mouth could damage their teeth. While more than 250,000 pediatric dental sedations are performed each year, this doesn’t mean your child should rely on surgery as their only failsafe. Talk to your teen about the severity of preventing dental harm so they know to stay safe on the field.

Smoking

Most current adult smokers began this bad habit during high school. While more and more young people know about the dangers of smoking, this doesn’t mean that they won’t try it once or twice.

Oral health issues are apt to arise in smokers because of the terrible ingredients in cigarettes. Of course, you should encourage your child to stop smoking, but addiction can be hard to overcome. If your child smokes and won’t quit, it’s essential to emphasize the need to properly maintain their oral health. Otherwise, they may develop gum disease, lose their teeth, stain their teeth, and experience dulled taste buds. Over time, cancer might even develop as a result of this habit.

These are just some of the dental issues that can arise in your teenager. When you want to ensure their oral health is managed properly, take them to the childrens dentists for the best care. At Smilez Pediatric Dental Group, our childrens dentists have the experience necessary to take care of your whole family. Contact us today for more information about how to prevent common health issues among teenagers.

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It’s well-known that sugary drinks and foods can harm your child’s teeth, but what about supposedly healthy options?

Many drinks and foods contain hidden dangers that can hurt your child’s teeth. Steer clear of these “healthy” drinks when you want to ensure your child’s oral health remains strong.

Bottled water

Even though water is great for your body, you should be careful regarding which types of bottled water you buy. Children are particularly sensitive to high levels of fluoride in their toothpastes and drinking water; should your child consume too much, their teeth may suffer as a result.

In fact, it’s estimated that 65% of parents don’t know how much fluoride their bottled water contains. While some fluoride can help strengthen teeth, too much may make them brittle. Always check the fluoride levels before giving bottled water to your child. Otherwise, you might end up searching for childrens dentists.

Coffee

There are numerous health benefits that are offered by coffee consumption, but this doesn’t mean your child’s body can handle it. Coffee causes tooth staining because of their high levels of acidity. As your child’s tooth enamel wears down, they may encounter sensitive teeth or even chronic pain as a result. With repeated exposure to acidic drinks, your child may even suffer from tooth decay at an early age.

Luckily, few children should be drinking coffee anyway. More often than not, the caffeine isn’t good for growing bodies. If you want to give your child coffee, think again.

Sports drinks

It might be tempting to toss your athletic child a sports drink after a particularly challenging game. Unfortunately, the high levels of acidity can damage your child’s teeth and promote the growth of cavities.

More often than not, water is just as beneficial when it comes to rehydrating your child athlete. Ditch the sugar and acid, and opt for healthy alternatives before you need to visit local pediatric dentists.

Before you offer your child these “healthy” drinks, talk to pediatric dentists in your area about their pros and cons. Smilez Pediatric has an experienced staff of family dentists ready to help you and your children lead a healthier life. Contact us today when you want to talk to top pediatric dentists.

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It may seem inevitable that your child will loathe going to the dentist, but that doesn’t actually have to be what happens. With some thoughtful preparation, you can help quash your child’s fear of visiting your family dentist. Read up on these tips to make your child comfortable with the dentist before their first visit to a kids dentist in Chantilly.

Tell them what to expect

A dentist’s office has a lot of overwhelming noises, smells, and sights. To get your child familiar with these elements, show your them pictures of the kids dentist in Chantilly that you will visit or make a trip to the office before the actual appointment. If you can’t make a pre-appointment trip, call the office and ask for a rundown of the appointment. Relay that to your child and when you brush their teeth, tell them that the dentist will be doing very similar things when you arrive.

If your child is having a procedure done, remember to be honest about it. Don’t try to downplay how cavities are treated or neglect to tell them that dental sedation is involved. After all, dental professionals like those at Smilez Pediatric Dental Group have advanced training in proper methods of pediatric dental sedation and contribute to the 250,000 pediatric dental sedations performed each year.

Do a practice run

One of the best ways to alleviate a child’s fears is to familiarize it with play. Before your child’s appointment, role play with them. You can pretend to be the dentist and your child will be the patient. Ask them to open wide, count and brush their teeth, and show them their smile in the mirror at the end. Encourage your child to play this game with a doll or stuffed animal, in which they are the dentist.

Let them know that dentists are the good guys

Try telling your child that their dentist is the superhero for their teeth. Practice honesty again by telling them that they only get two sets of teeth, so the dentist has to take really good care of them. This will help show your child that the dentist’s job is to help them have strong teeth and beautiful smile. Be sure to emphasize the importance of oral hygiene at home as well, so that they feel a sense of pride in taking care of their teeth.

When you’re ready to take your child to the dentist for the first time, take them to the best kids dentist in Chantilly. Smilez Pediatric Dental Group is dedicated to making your child feel at ease and giving them their best smile.

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Growing up is something that all kids have to do and all parents have to watch. The best part is watching who your little spawn will grow up to be and how they tackle life. One of the challenges teens face as they get older is different types of dental emergencies and expenses. The amount of dental work teens have to endure depends on many different things from lifestyle choices to dental hygiene decisions. Here are just a few things you may want to discuss with your teen and their dental professional.

Teens can be very self conscious about their appearance and their smile says a lot about who they are as a person. If your teen happens to have crooked teeth it may be time to start thinking about braces. Many times the kids dentist will be able to inform you if the teeth can be adjusted on their own when molars move around and wisdom teeth are removed. If that is the case you may not need to have braces for your child. If you do happen to have a child that needs braces to ensure them that they are not all that bad. They can pick the colors if they get basic metal braces or you can spend a bit more for some clear braces that work just as well. Whichever you choose your child will thank you later when they have perfectly straight teeth. Great dental hygiene can be an amazing habit to pass on to your child for their future.

Cavities and discoloration of teeth can be a very unsightly problem as well. Nobody wants to open their mouth and have brown spots or yellow stained teeth. Your smile makes a lasting impression so do everything you can to take good care of it. Your dentist can quickly and easily fix small cavities for your child before they turn into big gaping holes or an abscess. By taking care of small cavities and maintaining healthy dental hygiene you are saving your child a lot of pain and embarrassment in the future if they require an extraction. Stains can be easily removed as well by a whitening regimen your family dentist can perform in the office. Whitening is simple and can create a huge difference in anyone’s smile.

Try to explain to your child the importance of good dental hygiene and what they can do to help keep their teeth healthy. Energy drinks are a tooth killer, Rockstar, Monster and, Redbull eat away twice as much enamel as sports drinks do. Teach them ways of boosting their energy naturally without these unhealthy sugar drinks. By simply brushing regularly, flossing everyday, eating a healthy diet and going for regular dental checkups they can keep all of their original grown up teeth through their entire lives.

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Many people underestimate the major role that fluoride plays in dental hygiene and in overall oral health. But the truth is, many of the small habits you engage in throughout the day contribute to your oral health, and fluoride intake is no exception. If you’re looking to increase your fluoride intake, it’s easier than you think. Here are just a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind to improve dental health through increased fluoride intake.

DO: Use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash

Many people assume that all types of toothpaste have fluoride, but that’s not the case. Plus, some types of toothpaste and mouthwash have much higher fluoride content than others. That being said, it’s important to ensure that all of your dental products contain fluoride at a safe level.

DON’T: Neglect water bottle labels

One 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that more than 65% of parents using bottled water did not know what levels of fluoride it contained. But it goes without saying that drinking fluoridated water bottles and tap water can significantly help to boost fluoride intake as a whole. That being said, it’s essential to get yourself into the habit of checking water bottle labels for fluoride content.

DO: Consider professional fluoride treatments from your dentist

It’s true — in addition to increasing fluoride intake through water and dental hygiene products, you can go directly to perhaps the most reliable source: your family dentist. This treatment may not be suitable for children, but for adults, it can help to keep teeth enamel strong and durable with just one treatment session.

DON’T: Neglect dentist’s advice

Finally, make sure to visit your dentist twice per year as recommended by the ADA. Your dentist can tell you the true condition of your teeth with just one cleaning, and they can let you know whether or not increased fluoride intake is necessary in the first place. There are plenty of other types of dental health treatments that may be right for you based on the current condition of your teeth and gums.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to develop proper dental hygiene habits in your household. For more information about family dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dentistry.

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As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1% to 1.5%). That being said, sports drinks are often filled with electrolytes that are beneficial during and after a sports game or workout. And even though they may not be as harmful as sugar-loaded energy drinks, it’s important to be responsible and make sure your child understands how to protect their teeth after drinking a sports drink. Here are just a few tips that can help prevent enamel damage during sports drink consumption.

Faster is Better

It may sound surprising, but it’s true: experts say it’s better to drink a sports drink all at once than to take small sips throughout the day. That being said, it’s ideal to invest in smaller sports drink bottles that your child can finish in one sitting, like during halftime of a big sports game. Another way to encourage faster consumption is to keep an eye on the time your child starts drinking the sports drink, and to give them a time limit to finish it, like 20 minutes.

Alternate With Water

It should come as no surprise, on the other hand, that your child should be drinking water frequently throughout a game or workout as well. Kids dentists in Dulles recommend alternating sips of water and sports drink, or to simply drink water after finishing the drink completely to rinse out the mouth. The key is to avoid the aftermath of drinking a sports drink without rinsing the mouth, as this is the time when enamel damage occurs the fastest. It’s also best to drink cold sports drinks, which slow the enamel erosion process.

Buy the Right Sports Drinks

It’s true that traditional sports drinks can cause enamel damage, but there are a wide variety of options available. In fact, many dentists recommend low-sugar sports drinks that are intended to provide the same electrolyte boost without the potential dental damage.

Ultimately, sports drinks can be beneficial, but it’s important to consume them with dental health in mind. For more information about kids dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group.

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One 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that more than 65% of parents using bottled water did not know what levels of fluoride it contained. Knowing this, it’s clear to see that both children and adults alike are woefully misinformed about the essential facts of fluoride. Without further ado, let’s debunk some of the most misleading facts about how fluoride affects your teeth and overall dental health:

Fluoride is unsafe for young children.

Perhaps this misconception originated from someone who read a bit too much into the ‘do not swallow’ warnings on toothpaste tubes. But the fact is, fluoride is absolutely safe for young children. Moreover, kids dentists agree that fluoride is an essential component of oral health because it helps to strengthen the enamel. This is important to start from a young age. Make sure to encourage consumption of fluoridated water and twice-daily brushing with your child — their dentist will thank you.

Fluorosis is a common effect of ingesting fluoride.

While it’s true that fluorosis can result from ingesting too much fluoride, it’s very difficult to reach these levels of toxicity. If you have very young children, you may want to ask your dentist what the right amount of fluoride is. You should also double check with your dentist if you plan on using infant formula with fluoridated water — typically, infants should be drinking formula only with purified or distilled water. Still, the chance of fluorosis is very rare.

Fluoride causes cancer.

Finally, this outdated has been discredited long ago, but for some reason, it still scares some people who may not know the facts. Experts agree, however, that there is absolutely no evidence of any sort of connection between fluoride intake and bone cancer. Take it from Colgate Professional:

“The National Cancer Institute asserts, citing decades-long surveys by the Public Health Service and other national organizations and reviews of studies, that there is no association between fluoride and cancer. Years and years of epidemiological data support the safe use of fluoride,” writes Jen Collins.

Now that you know the real facts about fluoride, you can make the most informed decision for your family’s dental health. For more information about kids dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group.

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Summer is coming to an end, and it won’t be long until the school season starts and parents have less control over their children — specifically, their diets. It’s one thing if you pack a lunch for your child each day, but if they’re eating food from the cafeteria, it’s important to be wary of each day’s choices. Eating the wrong foods can hurt not only your children’s overall health, but their dental health in particular. Here are just a few tips to help make sure your child or young teen is eating healthy meals throughout the entire school year.

Provide your child with their own (healthy) beverages so they don’t take a trip to the vending machines.

Everybody knows that sugary drinks are bad for your health and especially your teeth, but many schools stock their vending machines with the worst of the worst: energy drinks. As much as sports drinks are harmful to your teeth, dentists and researchers found that exposure to energy drinks such as Rockstar, Monster®, and Red Bull® resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to sports drinks such as Powerade®, Gatorade®, and Propel® (3.1% to 1.5%). To prevent your child from the temptation, provide them with their own healthy beverages from home. Milk, unsweetened iced tea, and flavored water are all great options.

Pack a healthy snack for between meals.

Some students don’t have lunchtime until later in the afternoon, which means they’re usually hungry before they even get out of their last class. Help them resist cravings by packing them a healthy snack for before lunch. A granola bar, dry cereal, or a piece of fruit are all great options. You never know if the snack they ate before lunch is what prevented them from treating themselves to a sugary dessert.

Check the school lunch menu ahead of time.

Finally, it’s important to check the school’s lunch menu ahead of time to determine whether or not it’s a healthy option. When in doubt, pack your child’s lunch or buy the ingredients they need to make it for themselves. Communicating with your child or young teen is also important to ensure proper dental development and oral health education.

Ultimately, these tips can make sure your child or young teen takes care of their teeth throughout the entire school year. For more information about pediatric dentists, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group.

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