Here are Some Good Oral Hygiene Tips Especially for Teens
During the teen years, parents often encourage their teenagers to step up their hygiene routine. We tell our teens to shower more and we buy them the latest skincare products. However, it’s important not to overlook good dental hygiene for teenagers!
Let’s face it. Busy teens may become lax about brushing and flossing diligently. That’s where parents come in. See below for some tips and reminders to help your teen maintain proper oral hygiene during these vital years of their health and development:
They’re a rite of passage for most pre-teens and teens. Braces have even become something of a style statement, available in a rainbow of colors for teens to switch up their look every time they see the orthodontist. But it’s important to remind our teens that brushing and flossing is especially critical while in braces because food particles and plaque can get more easily stuck to brackets and teeth, making them more prone to decay and discoloring. Remind your teen to “brush right” to ensure a perfect set of pearly whites once those flashy braces are removed.
Whether you’ve invested in braces or not, you will want to encourage your teen to protect his or her permanent teeth – especially if they play contact sports. Statistics show that sporting activities account for the greatest percentage of traumatic dental injuries in teens. While your teen may feel self-conscious about wearing a mouth guard during contact sports, this preventative step is preferable to front teeth being knocked out and a trip to the ER!
Along with growing older and wiser, teens also get their third molars, or “wisdom teeth,” during their later teen years. These molars are not typically cooperative! They may not come in straight and often the mouth does not have enough room to accommodate the additional teeth. Advise your teen to communicate with you if they begin to experience pain, swelling, or soreness in the back of the mouth. This discomfort can be addressed by removal of the impacted wisdom teeth. While a few days of post-oral surgery swelling may not be your teen’s idea of fun, it is a small sacrifice to help them achieve good oral health into their adult years.
Teens may not yet have the discipline to make the best choices about eating healthy and maintaining healthy habits. It’s your job to remind your teen to eat balanced foods and to cut out cavity-causing sugar as much as possible — especially sugar-heavy sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks. If they do partake from time to time, encourage them to rinse the mouth with water afterwards. In addition to eating healthy, always, always, always, drill into them the importance of brushing and flossing daily. Regular dental check-ups should also extend into the teen (and adult!) years to ensure proper oral health. If all else fails, remind your teen to correct their lame oral hygiene habits in order to prevent bad breath – a stigma that no teen wants!
Survive the teen years – and beyond — by using the above tips to help your teen secure a future of good oral health and hygiene! Dr. Janet Euzarraga, voted Ahwatukee Best Dentist, and her staff at Dr. E’s Cosmetic & Family Dentistry are here for your teen and your whole family.