E-cigarettes And Teens

e-cigarettesE-cigarettes are especially popular among teens these days. The number of teens using e-cigarettes is rising. Dentists should be aware that teens who “vape” are more likely to try tobacco in the form of cigarettes, cigars and hookahs.

Nicotine is addictive and with adolescents it is especially dangerous because adolescence is a critical time for brain development.  Exposure to nicotine at a young age can cause lasting harm to brain development. Dentists who care for long term health of teens should be concerned. The effects of smoking on oral health include stained teeth and tongue and a dulled sense of taste and smell.  Not to mention the risk of oral cancer.

Read more about teens and the risks of vaping and e-cigarettes and how dentists can help them: Teens Who “Vape” More Likely to Try Tobacco

Bad Breath In Teens

bad breath in teensTeenagers have a lot to worry about in this crazy world, and bad breath in teens shouldn’t have to be one of them. Unfortunately, bad breath affects millions of people every day and teens aren’t exempt.

Bad breath can be caused by many factors including poor oral hygiene, certain foods, underlying dental or medical conditions, dry mouth and certain lifestyle changes and choices.

There are many conditions that can cause bad breath.  The primary cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. It is very important for teens to learn the benefits of good oral hygiene. Teenagers who wear braces should take extra care in practicing good oral hygiene because food particles can become easily trapped in the braces.

Other things that can cause bad breath in teens is gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, dry mouth and bacteria on the tongue. Some things that teens can do to prevent bad breath are: Don’t use tobacco products. Eat a healthy diet.  Visit the dentist regularly. Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day, and floss at least once a day. If your teen has chronic bad breath, be sure to talk to your dentist about it.

Teenagers and Bad Breath|About Health

Do Braces Increase Risk of Tooth Decay?

girl smilingIf you’ve ever had a mouth full of metal, you know the feeling of having various foods stuck between wires and braces and the tedious task of threading and weaving floss through your teeth to get rid of any unwanted dwellers. But you’d also know that it all becomes worth it when the Orthodontist removes all that hardware and a perfectly straight smile stares back at you through the mirror.

But sometimes what’s staring back could be cavities and tooth decay as well. Sound dental hygiene becomes a bit harder and less convenient with braces, but if you skip the steps you’re only doing yourself and your smile a disfavor.

Here are some pointers for preventing periodontal disease and decay when sporting a little bling in your mouth:

  • When flossing: Lead a floss threader or all in one floss towards your gums in between your teeth and the wire between braces. Carefully work the floss between your teeth using a gentle sawing motion.
  • When brushing: Use either a rotary or regular soft toothbrush. Make sure to brush the top and bottom of each brace as brushing through the mouth. After a standard tooth brushing, brush with a proxabrush, a special brush designed for cleaning between braces. Work the brush from both top and bottom under the wire, between two braces. Rinse after to flush out any debris, plaque or tartar. Marielaina Perronne mentions that aWaterpik with Periogen and purple listerine is a good way to flush out while keeping your brackets shiny and elastics clean.
  • Schedule and maintain seeing your orthodontist regularly, usually every 3-4 months. Seeing them regularly not only helps keep your teeth and braces clean and working, but can catch any problem areas early.
  • Foods to avoid: Those that are difficult to bite into (beef jerky, apples, bagels, corn still on the cob). Sticky and chewy foods (gum, taffy, caramels). Hard foods and candies (nuts, carrots, ice, popcorn, hard pretzels). Also avoid chewing objects (fingernails, pencils, etc.) and opening anything with your mouth (bags, bottles, etc.).

You may be counting down the days until your mouth is metal-free, but try and have some fun with it. Play with the colors of your elastics, coordinate with holidays, etc. and before you know it your tongue will be running over a smooth set of super straight teeth! And a healthy one at that, if you implement these tips!

You can read more about maintaining good oral health while having braces here: http://drperrone.com/blog/do-braces-increase-risk-of-tooth-decay/

Parenting: 10 Tips on How to Counteract Negativity in Teenagers

negativity in teenagersAs I mentioned in an earlier post, I have teenagers. This is a new thing for me. Give me a two year old? No problem. A fifteen year old is a completely different matter. Of course teenagers can be a lot of fun and I really enjoy mine, but they do come with their set of challenges. One of the challenges we have been dealing with lately is negativity. Complaining about everything under the sun and blaming everyone but themselves for their circumstances. As an optimist, it drives me nuts. So I’ve been trying to figure out what to do and how to help them. I decided to go to Facebook and ask my more experienced friends what things they have done to counter negativity in teenagers, specifically their own. And they gave some great advice…

Tips to Counteract Negativity in Teenagers

1- Listen— One of the biggest things that people said was to listen, listen, listen. They share a fair warning: It may take hours and hours of listening. When the kids are young, their answers of what is wrong are simple and straight to the point. As teenagers, it becomes more difficult and may take a while before the real problem surfaces. Another warning: Don’t try to give a positive spin to every single negative. This will only frustrate them. Sometimes they don’t want answers, they just need to vent or want a listening ear.

2-Be Thankful— Several people said that they have their teens keep a Thankful Journal. Every night they write anywhere from 3-10 positive things that happened during the day. This helps them focus on the good things in life  instead of always seeing the negative.

3-Visual Cues— A lot of times in the workplace businesses will have posters on the wall with special sayings to motivate their employees.  This could apply to home as well. Display signs that have positive statements such as ‘confidence’, ‘work together’, or ‘think positive’. You can use some nice pictures and laminate them, make them stand out. It will serve as a visual reminder to stay positive.

4-Help Someone in Need— Teenagers can get self-absorbed, especially when they have difficult situations or problems to work through. Helping others in need takes the focus off yourself and makes you feel good inside. It can be something simple such as writing a kind note or befriending someone. There are many opportunities to volunteer in the community. It’s like a boomerang. When you lift others it returns ten-fold.

5- Find a Common Interest— Do you both like music or enjoy playing games? Do you have a favorite sport? Finding something that you can enjoy with your teen will not only strengthen your relationship but also opens the lines of communication. This makes it easier to discuss serious issues. Yes, you need to be a parent, but it’s okay to be a friend as well. Enjoy being together.

6- Be Honest— When discussing serious issues, be honest and frank. You don’t have to sugar coat everything or avoid difficult topics but if you have a strong relationship (tip 5) and have practiced listening (tip 1), you can get through the problems together.

7- Exercise— Exercise relieves stress, boosts mood and if you exercise together it gives you an opportunity to talk, especially if your teen is more withdrawn at home. Also, getting out in the sunshine can really help boost mood.

8- Find a Hobby— Help your teens develop talents and hobbies. The more they are involved, the happier they will be (as long as they are not overscheduled and stressed, but that’s a post for another day). They can use their hobbies or relaxing activities such as listening to music, drawing, taking a bath, watching a movie or reading a book to pick up their spirits. Also having adequate sleep can do wonders for your attitude.

9- Hugs— Sometimes all I can do is give my teens a hug. They might not always act like they enjoy it, but teenagers need physical contact just as much as little children. Physical contact can bring feelings of reassurance, comfort and acceptance. Teenagers tend to withdraw during these years, so it is important to find ways to have appropriate physical contact with them.

10- Give Them Some Space— Sometimes you have to give your teens their space. This will give them a chance to work out their own problems. If you’re constantly trying to change their mood or attitude for them, it makes it difficult for them to be independent. If you let them bring you down, it reinforces their negativity. Instead, be an example of positive living and let them join you when they are ready.

These tips can be helpful for adults as well as teenagers. Of course, no-one is exactly the same and not every tip will work for every person, but hopefully you can find something that might work for you. I know I did.



A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years

Teen YearsI have six kids. I have changed umpteen diapers, taught 6 kids how to sleep through the night, talk, walk, and potty trained all of them. I have been through 6 sets of terrible twos and even worse 6 sets of three year olds. When it comes to raising young children, I’ve got experience. But the world I am now wading through is new for me…the world of teenagers. I have two teenage daughters and there are times when I really have no idea what to do with them. Kidshealth.org has an article called A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years that gives a lot of great tips and ideas for parenting teenagers. It is great advice and definitely an article that I’m going to bookmark and refer back to often.

Here is the link to the article. Check it out: http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/adolescence.html#