Even today, when the effects of sun exposure are becoming an increasing concern due to the holes in the ozone layer, many teens enjoy tanning. One survey revealed that only 9% of teens use sunscreen on a daily basis. Because the ozone layer has gaping holes in it as steadily thinning, it can no longer screen out the most harmful ultraviolet rays and sun exposure increases sunburn and skin cancer.
Some tips to protect yourself from sunburn:
- Wear a sunscreen lotion, it will allow you to tan but will decrease the chance of burning. Choose a lotion with 20 or more PABA concentration.
- Do not be fooled by clouds, wind and water at the beach. The sun’s rays still get through and are still strong.
- Reapply sunscreen lotions frequently (especially if you are swimming).
- Avoid the sun between 12 noon and 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon when its ultraviolet rays are the strongest.
- Slowly build up your exposure to the sun by starting in 15–30 minute periods.
“Your mouth is the barometer of your body’s health”: Dr. Cherilyn Sheets
Teens between the ages of 13 to 16 are especially likely to get cavities because they have a busy life. You may not be taking the time to clean your teeth properly. IF you don’t clean your teeth right, and you eat lots of sugar–filled food you will develop plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a form of harmful oral bacteria that forms on teeth. Certain bacteria in the plaque combine with sugar to form acids that attack tooth enamel, leading to decay or gum diseases.
But if you spend 10–15 minutes a day cleaning and flossing your teeth, or if you eat a healthy diet free of vast quantities of refined sugar, you will probably be able to keep your teeth your entire life. Which sort of brush should I use? Choose a soft–bristled brush, because hard–bristles can damage your gums. Always keep 2 to 3 new brushes around. A brush will need to be replaced about every 3 months.
What kind of floss should I use? Any floss you prefer, wax or un–waxed, flavored or plain. If the paces between your teeth are tight, you might prefer a waxed floss, which is less likely to fray in tight spots. If your teeth are very tight, you might like floss made out of a “Teflon” like shred proof material.
Which toothpaste should I use? Any fluoridated or tarter–control toothpaste may be a good choice, but remember that no paste controls tartar below the gum line. Brushing will control tartar by removing plaque. Twice a year you will need a professional cleaning at your dentist’s . Fluoridated toothpastes with natural ingredients are also okay. What’s the best way to brush? After putting the paste on the brush, start with the brush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth at the gum line. You can use a circular brushing motion or a straight downward and upward one. To focus on the gum line, a back–and–forth scrub may be needed. Brush all chewing surfaces thoroughly and also reach the inside surfaces of the front teeth.
What’s the best way to floss? Think of floss as an extension of the brush, a means of cleaning surfaces that the brush can’t reach. Take a length of floss and wind the ends around your index fingers so you can hold it taunt. As you floss, wind and unwind, so you keep flossing with a clean part of the floss and not with the plaque you’ve already collected. Slip the thread gently between the teeth and up and under the gum line.
Remember you are after the plaque on the side of the tooth. If your gums bleed lightly at first, keep on flossing, the bleeding should subside as your gums get used to flossing. How much is enough? Brushing twice daily and flossing once in the evening is a practical amount of teeth–cleaning to do. You can brush first and floss or floss and brush second–it really doesn’t matter much as long as your teeth get cleaned. Spend five minutes or so per session on your tooth cleaning, depending on how fast you work. Don’t forget to rinse to get the bacteria and germs your brushing and flossing have freed out of your mouth. Plain water works fine.
Many teens wear braces. Braces are for:
- Correcting alignment between teeth of the upper and lower jaws.
- Pushing teeth into proper positions.
- Correcting bite problems.
- Correcting crowded and crooked teeth.
- Correcting the spacing among teeth.