Let’s face it, most teenagers have their own ideas and opinions on just about everything. That includes their teeth. Teens are busy with school, sports, social activities, and jobs, and taking care of their teeth is often low on their priority list. At the same time, teenagers are known for eating junk food. Combine their food choices and poor dental hygiene, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster when it comes to their oral health.
Here are some tips to help your teenager maintain a healthy smile:
• Promote good oral hygiene. Ask your teenager to brush at least twice a day, and floss every day. These techniques will help prevent cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
• Keep supplies available for your teen to use, such as soft toothbrushes, flavored dental floss, fluoride toothpaste, and flossers. Consider keeping these supplies in more than one location in your home, so that lazy teenagers won’t use excuses like not wanting to walk upstairs to brush.
• Encourage teens who wear braces to take extra care with hygiene. Trapped food particles may lead to plaque, bad breath, and tooth stains.
• Set a good example by taking care of your own teeth. Your warnings carry more weight if you’re following them yourself.
• Buy healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables, instead of junk food.
• Make sure your teen wears a good-fitting mouthguard when playing contact sports such as football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer. This appliance will provide protection and reduce your child’s risk for injury.
• Play on your teenager’s desire to look good. Help your teen understand that poor oral hygiene can cause stains, missing teeth, receding gums, bad breath, and other issues.
• Schedule regular checkups for your teen with your dentist.