When it comes to oral hygiene, teenagers are in a weird place. On one hand, they’re taking care of their teeth without the assistance of their parents for the first time. On another hand, they’re dealing with a number of stressors which are potentially detrimental to their teeth.
As such, they must approach oral hygiene in a slightly different manner than do their parents and young siblings.
Are you the parent of a teen? Need help ensuring that he or she keeps his or her teeth and gums healthy? This blog post is here to assist you.
What Oral Health Obstacles Do Teenagers Face?
There are a number of obstacles that teenagers tend to encounter when it comes to their oral health. The most common of these obstacles are as follows.
When kids become teenagers, they begin to shake themselves loose from the supervision of mom and dad. This has its positives, but its negatives as well, one of which is often the consumption of unhealthy foods.
Unfortunately, a good many unhealthy foods are bad for the teeth, destroying their enamel and causing them to become discolored. Some of these unhealthy foods include soda, candy, and potato chips, all foods that teens like to eat in large quantities.
While many teens have played sports from the time they were small kids, a number of them are just now getting into heavy contact sports. Basketball, baseball, and (especially) football all have the potential to wreak havoc on your teen’s teeth.
Another oral hygiene obstacle that teens tend to encounter is the obstacle of braces. While braces are beneficial, they also make brushing and flossing a pain. For this reason, teens with braces often slack off in the oral hygiene department.
The teen years often bring a yearning for individuality. As such, some teens opt to express themselves with the use of oral piercings. Unfortunately, many of these piercings are detrimental to oral health, causing everything from canker sores to chipped teeth and more.
While we certainly don’t want them to, some kids pick up smoking in their teen years. We all know how bad smoking can be for the teeth and gums, causing them to become discolored and decayed.
Teens infamously face a range of hormonal changes. Unfortunately, these changes can sometimes lead to depressive episodes.
One of the big problems that depressed individuals have is maintaining good oral hygiene. So, in essence, your teen’s fluctuating hormones could lead to bad brushing and flossing habits.
Maintaining Your Teen’s Oral Health
The key to maintaining good oral health in your teenager is to be proactive. The more diligent you are, the better off your teen’s teeth and gums will be. Some of the tips you should follow will be reviewed below.
Keep a Routine
The best way for teens to maintain good oral hygiene is by establishing and following a routine. While teens are advised to brush and floss their teeth after every meal, this isn’t always feasible.
Instead, they should make sure to do so at least twice a day: once after they eat breakfast in the morning and once before they go to sleep at night.
Make Your Teen Wear a Mouthguard During Athletic Activities
If your teen is involved in football, basketball, baseball, or some other high-impact sport, you should ensure that he or she is wearing a mouthguard. Mouthguards not only reduce the risk of broken teeth, but they also reduce the chance of lip, gum, and mouth injuries.
Be Vigilant of Cigarettes and Other Smokable Substances
You’ve probably made it abundantly clear to your kids that you don’t want them smoking. However, this won’t necessarily stop them from doing so. So, instead, you’re going to have to be vigilant, keeping an eye open for signs that smoking is a part of your teen’s life.
Strongly Discourage Oral Piercings
As we all know, teenagers can be rebellious. Often times, they’ll do things just because their parents don’t want them to. In some cases, getting oral piercings is one of these things.
But as we noted above, oral piercings can be detrimental to the teeth, gums, and mouth. As such, you should do everything in your power to prevent your teen from getting them.
Keep the Consumption of Problematic Foods to a Minimum
While you won’t be able to 100% prevent your teen from eating bad foods, you can, at the very least, do your part at home. How? By keeping such foods out of your cupboards, refrigerators, and pantries.
This way, your child will only be able to access said foods when he or she buys them him or herself.
Consider Psychological Therapy
Is your child having a hard time making it through his or her teen years? Is depression or anxiety affecting his or her oral health? If so, you should consider psychological therapy.
A therapist can help your teen cope with his or her problems, assisting in the prevention of depressive episodes, and, in turn, aiding in the maintenance of good oral health.
Opt for Invasalign Braces as Opposed to Metal Braces
As was noted above, it can be difficult for teenagers to brush around metal braces. So, how do you get around this problem? By opting for Invisalign braces instead.
These braces can be taken out at any time, allowing for free, uninhibited brushing and flossing when needed. Learn more about Invisalign braces now!
Bring Your Teen to the Dentist Regularly
Our last piece of advice is to bring your teen to the dentist on a regular basis. Doing so will not only allow your teen to receive in-depth, professional cleanings, but it will also allow him or her to catch small problems before they become big problems.
It’s advised that your teen sees his or her dentist twice a year, 6 months apart.
Schedule a Dentist Appointment for Your Teen
Are you looking to schedule a dentist appointment for your teenager or teenagers? If so, and if you live in the Arlington or Hurst, Texas area, Park Place Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics has you covered.
We strive to create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for our young patients. We’ll do everything in our power not only to provide top-notch dentistry but to make your teen feel welcome as well.
Contact us today to request an appointment!