As a parent, you probably know how important your child’s oral care is to their overall health. But as your child grows up and becomes a bit more independent, you might not pay as close attention to how they’re caring for their teeth.
Once your child enters their teenage years, they’ll probably think that they know it all. And if they’ve had very few dental problems in the past, they may feel they can just phone it in. But it’s even more important for teenagers to pay attention to their oral health. Whether their wisdom teeth are coming in, they wear braces, or they’re experiencing hormonal changes, all of these factors mean that the spotlight should be on teen oral care.
So how does teen oral care differ from what your child was already doing? Many of the principles are the same — but they may have a twist or be turned up a notch. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some top tips to improve teen oral care. If your teenager keeps these tips in mind, they’ll be well on their way to having a beautiful and healthy smile for many years to come.
Focus on Flossing and Brushing
Of course, one of the most important tips is to establish and follow an at-home teeth cleaning routine. While your teen no doubt knows that brushing and flossing are important, they may not clean their teeth as thoroughly or as frequently as you’d hope.
Skipping a night of brushing or forgetting to floss may not seem like a huge deal to your teenager, but breaking those habits can have big consequences. To convince them to brush and floss, you may want to purchase an electric toothbrush or emphasize the importance of fresh breath and an attractive smile. If the threat of cavities isn’t enough, they may be swayed by how their oral care could negatively impact their social life!
Watch What You Eat
Diet may play a more important role in teen oral care than you realize. That isn’t to say that your child needs to become a health nut overnight — but it may be worth taking a closer look at what they eat. Excessive sugar can sometimes lead to dental decay, but keep in mind that it isn’t just candy that can cause cavities. Foods like chips (and even healthier options like pretzels) can stick to the teeth and lead to plaque buildup. If your teen isn’t able to brush after snacking, these habits can wreak havoc on their oral health.
While you can’t stop your teen from munching on junk food entirely, you can do your part by keeping the fridge well-stocked with healthy options like fresh fruits and veggies. Not only are these snacks better for their overall health, but many of them can help clear away food debris and hold your teen over until they can brush properly. Remember that if your child wears braces or Invisalign that they’ll need to avoid certain foods or remove their aligners before eating!
Hydrate the Right Way
In addition to eating healthier snacks, your teen may need to rethink what they drink. Sports drinks can be harmful to the teeth, but so can energy drinks. Researchers have found that exposure to many leading energy drink brands (like Rockstar, Monster, and Red Bull) resulted in twice as much enamel loss as exposure to the leading sport drink brands (such as Gatorade, Powerade, and Propel).
Coffee, of course, can stain the teeth and may not be a healthy choice for many teenagers. Fruit juice can also harm tooth enamel, so the consumption of these beverages should be limited. The best beverage choice for people of all ages is water. Increasing your teen’s water intake can improve their health in several ways and keep their teeth in prime condition.
Pay Attention to Wisdom Teeth
The teenage years are typically when the third molars — also known as wisdom teeth — start to emerge. In some cases, this tooth eruption can be painful or uncomfortable. If your teen complains of oral discomfort toward the back of their mouth, their emerging wisdom teeth could be to blame.
It’s a good idea to talk to a dentist for teens to determine if and when these wisdom teeth need to be removed. This may not need to happen for a few years yet, as many people have their wisdom teeth out while they’re in college or even in their early 20s. But your dentist may recommend removing them sooner, particularly if they pose a risk to teen oral care.
Don’t Skip Regular Dental Exams
Speaking of talking to your dentist, this is one of the most important teen oral care tips of all. It’s essential to continue scheduling regular appointments with pediatric dentists in Dulles VA to ensure your teen’s oral health.
Even if your teen has a busy schedule, you need to make these visits a priority. That way, your dentist can perform regular cleanings and keep an eye on any issues you should be aware of. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — and by visiting the dentist regularly, your teen can keep smiling.
For more information on dental health for teens or to schedule an appointment, please contact our offices today.