The teenage years are hard for many reasons. Your child is growing into an adult, taking more responsibility, and gaining independence. Although they are taking care of their routine dental hygiene, they are sure to have an increase in risks to their oral health.
Teenagers are susceptible to gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth injuries, but you can help mitigate the risk of dental issues by encouraging them and helping them with the following dental tips for teens:
The appetite of a teenager is nothing to be trifled with. With their new independence, teenagers will have more access to sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks. While we know as a parent, you can’t always be there to guide your child’s dietary choices, encourage them to make healthy choices when possible, and balance their diet. Promote healthy snacks when possible, limit junk food kept in the house, and remind them of the benefits of a healthy diet.
While sealants are not strong enough to replace daily brushing and flossing, they can help prevent cavities by adding a protective coating on the chewing surface of the back teeth, most prone to cavities. Sealing a tooth is a quick and easy procedure and is typically covered with dental insurance. As long as the dental sealant remains intact, it will protect the tooth from decay.
Teenagers are involved in more high-contact sports, meaning the possibility of injuries. Mouth injuries are common with teenagers playing anything from cheer to football to skateboarding. Accidents happen, especially as your teen is learning new and more physical sports. Protect their teeth with a mouth guard. Mouth guards can protect your teen from chipped, cracked, and broken teeth that can lead to infections if not treated or make your teen feel self-conscious of their smile.
Routine Dental Care
At this point in your teenagers’ lives, they’re probably responsible for their own dental routines, but teens are busy! Help them out by providing them with plenty of extra toothbrushes, taking them to friends’ houses, school, and other activities. It may be easier for teens to brush on the go. Continue to encourage them about the importance of flossing daily and drinking plenty of water!
Make Healthy Choices
As with increased access to junk foods and sugary beverages, teenagers will also encounter other lifestyle choices that can affect their dental health. While we can’t control their decisions, we can encourage them to make the best choices for their health. Your teen may be prompted to try smoking tobacco from a friend or may be curious to try it themselves.
If you’re concerned about your teen’s smoking habits, ask your dentist to describe the long-term effects it will have on their oral health. Your teen might also want to get an oral piercing, such as a lip or tongue piercing. Unfortunately, piercings are detrimental to oral health, causing everything from canker sores to chipped teeth and more.
Bi-Annual Dental Appointments
While it can be hard to manage a teenager’s busy schedule, it’s essential to make time for their bi-annual dental cleanings and check-ups. As your teen ages into adulthood, your dentist will want to monitor their growth and development, keep an eye on the eruption of wisdom teeth, and help prevent cavities by removing plaque buildup. Continuing the habit of seeing a dentist every six months will help your teen understand the importance of those visits and hopefully continue that into adulthood.
Is your teen due for a routine dental exam? Schedule an appointment with our dentist for teens and learn about the transition to adulthood; help inform your child of the benefits of a healthy dental routine and the effects of making positive dental choices!