One of the hardest periods of one’s life is in the teenage years.
The teenage years can be hard on parents as puberty causes mood swings that may result in them either abusing drugs (Deer, 2018, January 7) or eating more foods with unhealthy amounts of sugar (Deer, 2016, August 8). This translates to them having tooth decay and cavities due their busy schedule of social activities, school and sports.
Your teeth are very important part of your body and require care. Unfortunately Fluoride Toothpastes are not really as good for your teeth as advertised. This as excess Fluoride in the form of Sodium MonoFlorophosphate can cause deposits of Fluoride salts on the joints, resulting in a condition similar to arthritis in older persons.
Worse, if you have sensitive teeth, Fluoride Toothpaste can irritate your sensitivity and even make cavities worse. Thus the only solution that remains is to use Toothpaste that has less Sodium MonoFlorophosphate and still cleans you teeth.
So how do you help Teenagers, who may be busy with social activities, school and sports to properly take care of their teeth naturally?
Teenagers and Brushing with Toothpaste – An Inconvenient Truth about Fluoride in Toothpaste
It’s best as possible to avoid using Toothpastes that contain Fluoride as in the long run they are bad for you.
The Weight by volume of Fluoride ion in all brands of Toothpaste is fixed at 0.15% i.e. there is a fixed ratio in terms of Mass to Volume for Sodium MonoFlorophosphate, the active ingredient in all manufactured Toothpaste.
No matter what size Toothpaste you buy, the Mass to Volume ratio of Fluoride ion is always the same.
However the percentage of Sodium MonoFlorophosphate in the various brands of Toothpastes that you and your children use varies. This is a ratio of the mass of Sodium MonoFlorophosphate to the total mass of the Toothpaste mixture inside of the tube.
A quick view if the video below will give you an idea of how bad Fluoride is for you.
This will naturally be different ratio that’ll vary from Toothpaste to Toothpaste, based on the concentration of the Sodium MonoFlorophosphate added while manufacturing the Toothpaste i.e. the molarity or number of moles of Sodium MonoFlorophosphate in the 0.15% by mass to volume ratio added during manufacturing.
The image above shows how to identify the various types of toothpaste based on the coloured mark at their base.
Once you know if it has a Red Mark, Black Mark or a Blue Mark, you can identify which Toothpastes are good for you based on the amount of Sodium MonoFlorophosphate as follows:
- Red Mark indicates 0.90% is Sodium MonoFlorophosphate
- Black mark indicates 0.76% is Sodium MonoFlorophosphate
- Blue Mark indicates 0.24% is Sodium MonoFlorophosphate
The best Toothpaste, which is the one with the Blue Mark, has less Sodium MonoFlorophosphate.
But you’ll also notice, even if you go shopping downtown in Coronation Market, that the Toothpaste with the lowest Sodium MonoFlorophosphate concentration usually is the most expensive. It also comes packed with other ingredients that are more “natural” to clean your teeth.
Add to that the fact that no Toothpaste is made in Jamaica but imported (Deer, 2013, November 5) and repackaged and rebranded as “Made in Jamaica” for the Jamaican Market, whether it be from Colgate Palmolive, Sensodyne or even Lasco.
Teenagers and Teeth – Brushing is a start but more is required
High schoolers need to brush their teeth at least twice a day or better, after every meal. They also need to avoid sugary snacks and beverages (Deer, 2016, August 8) as much as possible if they want to avoid regular teeth-pulling visits to the dentist.
If they play a contact sport, wearing a mouth guard is a must. Mouth guards are the best thing you can use to protect your teeth from getting broken or knocked out as they cushion blows that cause injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures.
It may feel awkward at first but your smile is priceless, so a mouthguard should be a regular part of your sporting activities.
Teenagers and Teeth – Mouthwash and Gum is your best bet against Halitosis
Halitosis, the scientific term for bad breath can happen anytime. This is due to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally live in your mouth.
Bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leave a foul-smelling waste product behind. Halitosis can also be cause by cigarette smoking and even smoking e-cigarettes can cause Lung Cancer (Deer, 2014, April 11).
Smoking can also cause:
- Gum disease
- Stained teeth and tongue
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Slow healing after a tooth extraction
- Oral cancer
The best strategy for a teenager to deal with bad breath is as follows:
- Brush at least twice a day and clean between your teeth daily
- Floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.
- Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them out. That’s where most bad-breath bacteria can be found.
- Using Mouthwash such as Listerine is also great.
But you need to clean your teeth and avoid Toothpaste that has Sodium MonoFlorophosphate. What alternatives do you have?
Teenagers and Natural Teeth – How to make your own Toothpaste
If you’re the all natural type of person, then maybe you might prefer making your own toothpaste (Deer, 2013, November 22) or mouthwash.
The simplest mouthwash is warm salt water, which helps to not only clean teeth but also expel cold from the throat (Deer, 2016, June 19). As they are much older than little children, teenagers can also use dilute Hydrogen Peroxide as an antiseptic and mouth gargle for 2 minutes.
But if you want to make your own toothpaste, then here are the ingredients that are required:
- Baking soda
- Coconut Oil
- Stevia or honey
The graphic below shows the ingredients in this all-natural Toothpaste.
The main active ingredient is really Baking Soda, the same active ingredient used along with aluminium in whitening teeth.
Spearmint and Peppermint act as flavourings similar to those found in ordinary toothpaste and Stevia or honey acting as a sweetener to make it palatable to little children and teenagers.
Because it is mixed with Coconut Oil and Honey acting as all-natural preservatives, it’ll never go bad and will not have any ill-effects if swallowed.
Teenagers and Natural Teeth – How to make your own Mouthwash
To make your own Mouthwash similar to the regular ones your teenager is used to may require a lot more knowledge of chemistry, but is easily managed.
This as it involves using flammable chemicals and thus great caution has to be taken when preparing this. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- A glass jar that has a watertight lid
- A 2 Cup metal measuring cup with handle
- Stainless Steel Container
- 100% Rum Bar Rum or other rum
- A coffee filter
- A piece of fine mesh Cotton Cloth
- An eye dropper bottle
- Electric stove
- Large pot with Water
- Very Strong Standing fan
Then follow the steps below to make your own batch of Listerine:
- Wash the Eucalyptus, Thyme, Spearmint, Peppermint and Ginger
- Masticate the ingredients in alcohol using a blender
- Place the masticated Eucalyptus, Thyme, Spearmint, Peppermint and Ginger into your mason jar.
- Pour 100% Rum Bar Rum into the Mason Jar until the mixture just start to float
- Put the lid tightly on the Mason jar and shake the jar a few times.
- Let it sit for 12 hours. The mixture should have a champagne colour and have oily bubbles on top of the liquid when shaken.
- Place your coffee filter or cloth over your Stainless Steel Container
- Pour your Eucalyptus, Thyme, Spearmint, Peppermint and Ginger mixture through the filter on the Stainless Steel Container.
- Grab the cloth by the edges and squeeze it to get as much of the green mother liquor out as possible
- Repeat the process using the Eucalyptus, Thyme, Spearmint, Peppermint and Ginger left over from 1-9 until it turn bleach white
- Place the Stainless Steel Container on the Electric Stove inside of another large pot with Water, basically a Water Bath for gentler heating
- Turn on the standing fan to remove excess vapors from the alcoholic Eucalyptus, Thyme, Spearmint, Peppermint and Ginger Mother liquor, keeping the heat level low
- Heat until it turns thick and oily and a dark orange colour but not bubbling boiling hot
- When the mixture thickens and darkens remove it from the burner
- If it gets too thick, add more alcohol and swirl it around until it thins out.
- Cool the Eucalyptus, Thyme, Spearmint, Peppermint and Ginger mixture to room Temperature
- Pour your mixture in the eye dropper bottle into a plastic bottle for use in your bathroom.
And that, dear reader, is how you make your own mouthwash!
Teenagers and their Tooth Health – Some Dental Concerns that actually require a dentist
Wisdom teeth, also referred to as third molars, wisdom teeth should come into your mouth between the ages of 17 and 21.
Sometimes they do not have enough room to come in normally or are in the wrong position to come straight up. Your dentist may refer to them as impacted and they may have to be removed.
If you have a bad bite or your teeth are crooked or out of alignment it can interfere with eating. You may therefore need braces to improve your smile and straighten your teeth.
They can also improve your dental health and overall health because untreated orthodontic problems can make it hard to bite and chew. If you have a bad bite, you may also be prone to cavities or gum disease because it may be hard to clean your teeth.
Dental sealants are a type of special plastic coating that act as a barrier, protecting cavity-prone areas. They are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and are sometimes used to cover deep pits and grooves in other teeth.
Sealing a tooth is fast and easy. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing but sometimes a reapplication is needed.
Teenagers and Piercings and Eating Disorders – Remove them or seek a psychiatrist
Oral piercings or tongue splitting can be dangerous to your health. Mouth piercings accelerate infection and swelling from the millions of bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth.
They could crack a tooth if you bite down too hard on the piercing. Repeated clicking of the jewellery against teeth can also cause damage. An infected oral piercing can also lead to more serious systemic infections, including hepatitis or endocarditis.
Eating disorders e.g. anorexia, bulimia and binge eating arise from a variety of complex physical, emotional and social issues. They can also be devastating to your oral health. Poor nutrition may make the gums and other soft tissue inside the mouth bleed easily.
The glands that produce saliva may swell and individuals may experience chronic dry mouth.
Frequent vomiting will also affect teeth. As the strong stomach acid repeatedly flows over teeth, the tooth’s enamel can be damaged. The teeth may change in colour, shape and length and the edges of teeth become thin and break off easily.
Eating disorders require professional help form a psychiatrist to help them deal with their issues relating to their self image.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one has an eating disorder, please speak to your doctor.
- Deer, L. (2013, November 5). Why Jamaica’s Basic Item Food Bill mostly from 1st World Countries despite being Made in Jamaica. Retrieved from https://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2013/11/jamaicas-basic-item-food-bill-mostly.html
- Deer, L. (2013, November 22). Going back to Mother Earth – How to make Natural Toothpaste and Listerine and save money and your sensitive teeth. Retrieved from https://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2013/11/going-back-to-mother-earth-how-to-make.html
- Deer, L. (2014, April 11). Boston University Study indicates E-Cigarettes can cause Lung Cancer. Retrieved from https://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/04/boston-university-study-indicates-e.html
- Deer, L. (2016, June 19). Natural Jamaican Remedies to treat Coughs and Colds in Children. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/jamaican-natural-remedies-coughs-colds/
- Deer, L. (2016, August 8). How to Spot Hidden Sugar and How to Avoid Eating Too Much. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/hidden-sugar/
- Deer, L. (2016, November 21). How to whiten your Teeth using Aluminium and Baking Soda. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/natural-teeth-whitening/
- Deer, L. (2018, January 7). How the NCDA 2017 Jamaica School Health Survey reveals Jamaican students are turning to Drugs and Sex. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/ncda-2017-jamaica-school-health-survey-violence-drugs/