We talk frequently about dental health for young children and adults, but what about teens? Teenagers face their own set of unique dental concerns that must not be overlooked. The balancing act of school, social activities and sports can make it extra challenging to tend to your child’s teeth, especially when you are trying to let your teen be responsible for their own hygiene. However, making sure your teen stays on top of their oral health is very important due to the following dental concerns that pertain to teenagers:
Cavities: As a parent, you may not be reminding your child to brush and floss as often. In addition, the likelihood that your teen is consuming more sugary snacks and drinks between meals or activities is also greater. Sports drinks, in particular, are very popular beverage among busy teens. Unfortunately, this combination is deadly when it comes to tooth decay. Try to encourage your child to only drink water throughout the day and feel free to check up on their brushing habits during the week.
Mouthguards: If you have a teen athlete in the house, are they wearing a mouthguard? It is critical that your child protect themselves from common mouth injuries and tooth trauma. Remember these are permanent teeth that need proper protection during all sports, not just football or hockey. Parents must understand the risk. Statistics show that an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard. Ask your dentist about a custom mouthguard to protect that growing smile.
Bad Breath: Your teen will want to hear this from you instead of a girlfriend or boyfriend. If your teen is consuming high amounts of sugar and skipping their daily brushing or flossing, bad breath is usually the punishment. In addition, it is common for teens who wear braces to battle halitosis as well. Keeping bacteria out of the mouth is a great way to keep the foul odor out too. Remind your child to floss and to brush their tongue every day.
White Smile: Has your teen asked about teeth whitening? As long as your child is mature enough to diligently brush and stay away from staining foods, professional whitening is a worthwhile and safe investment. Teenagers become more and more aware of their appearance, so a whiter smile is understandably on their wish list.
Parenting a teen can be a challenging task. When picking your battles, however, choose the battle against their oral health. It will not only save the appearance of their pretty smile, but it will prevent dental complications in the future. Continue to make your teen’s routine dental exam for them and drive them there if you have to. Your teen may resist you now, but they will thank you later!