Dental Problems

Prevention of Dental Disease in the Adolescent

Prevention of dental caries continues to be oral health priority adolescence and prevention of periodontal disease becomes a special concern. This is a very unique age group. The various methods for the prevention of dental disease in the adolescent are discussed briefly below in this article. Read on to know more.

At the stage of adolescence the main processes utilized include the following:

  • A. Rejection of many parental values.
  • B. The beginning of independent struggle and
  • C. The testing out types of behavioral experimentations.

Pit-and-Fissure-SealantsParents are educated that they should tackle the child at this stage very diplomatically. The child should be given enough emotional support from the family and his various habits should be monitored by the parents. The parents should have a friendly approach.

  1. Oral Hygiene:

    A good oral hygiene helps in the prevention of dental disease in the adolescent.

    • The adolescent patient possesses the fine motor skills necessary for adequate tooth brushing and flossing. But problems in compliance are likely to be encountered.
    • For periodontal health it is necessary to remove the plaque from all areas of the tooth that contact the gingival. Dental floss can be used to effectively remove the interproximal plaque.
  2. Diet:

    A healthy diet help in the prevention of dental disease in the adolescents.

    • In patients with a high caries rate, rampant dental decay may result in an extensive damage to the dentition. It is usually associated with poor oral hygiene practices and a high frequency of sugar consumption.
    • Progress of lesions can be halted with an appropriate diet control and an aggressive topical fluoride therapy.
  3. Fluorides:

    Use of fluoride toothpaste or fluoride in drinking water is another way of prevention of dental disease in the adolescent.

    • Systemic fluorides are no longer of benefit after the last permanent tooth erupts at about age of 13 years except for patients who have functional third molars.
    • Topical fluorides are the most effective preventive measure for the patients who experience smooth surface caries.
    • Use of fluoride containing dentifrices regularly (thrice daily) provides and economical and effective fluoride source.
  4. Orthodontics:

    This is one of the methods of prevention of dental disease in adolescence.

    • Many patients undergo orthodontic treatment during adolescence. These patients are at a high risk for both gingivitis and the resultant gingival hyperplasia and for dental caries around and under the appliance or braces.
    • Topical fluoride therapy is indicated to prevent decay.
    • A thorough removal of the plaque from the gingival areas should be performed to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis.
  5. Smokeless Tobacco:

    Avoiding the use of smokeless tobacco or other types of tobacco is one of the methods of prevention of dental disease in the adolescent.

    • Peer pressure and advertising exert pressure on children and adolescent to establish a habit that may result in addiction and ultimately induce oral cancer.
    • Evidence of tobacco use, such as shreds of tobacco present in the oral cavity or localized hyperkeratosis should be a signal to initiate efforts to motivate the patients to discontinue the habit.
    • Patients should be instructed or counseled not to nag or punish the adolescent as it might further entrench the habit.

Parents should assess why the adolescent got the habit?

  • Is it because of peer pressure or influence?
  • Is it because of home environment?
  • Is it because of bad company?
  • How long he or she has been using tobacco?

The dentist being an authority in clinical matters along with parents support should start the counseling. The adolescents are preoccupied with health matter in general and appearance in particular. This concern can be used as a mechanism for motivation to discontinue the habit.

The above article discusses briefly about the various methods for the prevention of dental disease in the adolescent. In this stage of life, kids generally do not wish to listen to any one and prefer to do as they wish. Thus, it is better to think in their way and make them understand what they are doing is right or wrong or their habit is good or bad for them.

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