Ah, the rebellious teen phase. As children grow older, they start to become more independent, meaning parents often have less direct influence over their child’s oral care. Adolescents are often too busy with school, extracurriculars, and social activities for parents to micromanage their dental health, so they need to be responsible for caring for their own teeth. Too frequently, this leads to cavities and missed dental appointments. To avoid these problems from progressing into serious ones, here are 6 ways to help your child’s dental care remains a priority through their teenage years.
1. Keep dental supplies handy.
Teens may be independent, but they probably aren’t buying their own dental supplies. It’s important to throw out or recycle your toothbrush about every 3 months because bacteria can build up and bristles can wear away if the toothbrush is kept longer than that. Keep plenty of toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, and mouth rinse handy for your teens, so they don’t have any excuses for not taking care of their teeth.
2. Get an orthodontic consultation.
Kids (and adults) can get braces at any age, but the teenage years are perfect for orthodontic treatment. All their permanent teeth have grown in, but their facial structure and jaws aren’t completely mature. This makes it easier to realign teeth. The orthodontist can guide your child in the right direction and provide them with specific advice about needs.
3. Purchase less junk food.
You can’t always control what your teens purchase when they aren’t with you, but you can stock your refrigerator and pantry with healthy snacks, like fruit and cheese, for when your kids get hungry at home. This way, your kids won’t be consuming sugary drinks and junk food that’s detrimental to their teeth all the time. Keeping indulgent foods to a minimum, but don’t ban your kids from eating them. There’s nothing (most) teens like more than doing the opposite of what they’re told to do.
4. Play to their vanity!
Teenagers are hyper aware of their looks because their bodies are changing so quickly. Don’t make them feel insecure about their smile, but let them know that dental care and braces are a great investment for the future. Having straight, clean teeth is not only healthy but very attractive! Smoking and neglecting oral health, on the other hand, can result in stained, decayed teeth.
5. Make them use mouthguards.
Many adolescents are involved in afterschool sports that could be dangerous. If your teen is involved in a contact sports, make sure they have access to a well-fitted mouthguard. Mouth injuries can result in lost teeth, broken, jaws, concussions, or worse. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
6. Don’t neglect regular checkups.
We know that family dynamics are changing, especially now that your teen is more likely to spend time with friends than parents. Though it can be easy to miss scheduled dental visits, it can have negative repercussions on your child’s dental health. If they get in the habit of avoiding dental visits, the damage on their teeth may become irreversible. Even though adolescents have bigger bodies than they used to, they are still kids. As a parent, you can help them out by making appointments and giving them reminders. Give us a call today and help your teens transition into adulthood with dental care as a priority.