We hear a lot about dental health for young children and are frequently educated on dental topics that adults encounter. However, it is important not to overlook the common concerns that teens face when taking care of their teeth. If you have a teenager in your home, you know the juggling act it takes to make it through a day. Teens are often involved in a long school day, sports or other extracurricular activities, chores and of course trying to maintain their social life. It might be easy to slack off on personal health and hygiene. However, making sure your teen is taking proper care of their teeth remains extremely important. Brushing and flossing twice a day for two minutes a day applies to your teenager too. Here are some reasons why teen dental health should be at the forefront of a busy schedule:
Cavities: At the teen stage, parents are probably not reminding their children to brush every night and morning. Furthermore, the amount of sugary drinks consumed typically increases, especially if you have a teen athlete drinking a lot of sports drinks during the week. They’ve got permanent teeth now that needs extra care. Neglecting to do so will result in tooth decay and other serious dental complications. Encourage your teen to at least drink water throughout the day to wash away the extra sugar sitting on their teeth.
Mouth guards: Speaking of sports, if your teen is involved in athletics, it is highly important that they are protecting themselves from dental or facial trauma. Did you know that an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard? It’s an easy way to save those pretty pearly whites, especially if your teen is just coming out of braces.
Bad Breath: Your teen will likely listen to you on this one. Teenagers who consume a lot of sugary food and drinks and are not brushing and flossing enough will often experience halitosis. In addition, it is common for teens who wear braces to find themselves battling a bad breath problem due to the accumulation of extra bacteria on their teeth. Remind your child to brush their tongue as well as their teeth to reduce that foul odor.
White Smile: As a teenager, your child might start becoming aware of the brightness of their smile. If they are diligent in brushing and flossing and careful to avoid staining drinks or foods, it is okay to ask your dentist about teeth whitening. Professional teeth whitening has been approved for teens as well as adults as a fast, safe and effective way to get a brighter smile.
Although your teen is taking on many new responsibilities, it is still beneficial to gently remind them of the dangers of neglecting their oral health. Telling them about the unwanted visible appearances in their teeth due to poor dental hygiene is often all it takes to get their attention. It is also important that parents of teens continue to make their routine dental check ups and drive them to the appointments if it helps get them there. We know that parenting a teen can bring many challenges, but their dental health doesn’t have to be one of them.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,