Chances are, your teen no longer relies on you to make sure they brushed their teeth in the morning and night; hopefully, they now care for their oral health themselves. Your dentist understands that teens often need extra encouragement to keep their teeth healthy and issue-free. Here are five things that you need to fully understand regarding teenagers and oral health.
- Their Wisdom Teeth May Appear
The extraction of wisdom teeth during the teen years is a very common procedure. While some people are lucky and born without these bothersome teeth, at some point in time, many people have to have them removed.
To help you and your teen prepare it is best to check for presence of wisdom teeth with a digital radiograph (called a panoramic radiograph) when your dentist recommends it. Your dentist can then evaluate whether or not they have the potential to cause problems and then help you plan if and when their wisdom teeth should be extracted. Extracting wisdom teeth is much easier with younger patients, which is why it is smart to handle this situation as early as possible.
- Consider Alternative Orthodontic Treatments
Something that often goes hand-in-hand with teen-dom is conventional metal braces. You likely have your own memories of feeling insecure with a mouthful of metal. There are now options for teens who don’t want to have to endure this. Clear aligners are available and can help straighten teeth, without the use of unappealing metal. Clear aligners also make it much easier for your teenager to keep their mouth clean and will help avoid the potential for cavities and irritation to the gums that metal braces can.
- Encourage them to Avoid Tooth Damaging Foods and Drinks
To help your teen keep a bright, white, healthy smile, it is a good idea to encourage them to avoid drinking excess amounts of juice, soda and sports drinks. All these can lead to tooth decay and may even stain the top layer of tooth enamel. Tap water is the best option to prevent tooth decay since even bottled water is acidic. Teens should also avoid snacking in between meals and avoid sugary snacks altogether to try and prevent cavities.
- Keep Emphasizing Healthy Habits
Make sure that you remind your teen that smiles are built on thorough and regular flossing and brushing. Talk to them about how important it is to brush their teeth for two minutes, two times a day and floss daily. If you believe your teen is at risk for using any tobacco product, remind them of the dangers this poses to their oral health.
- Schedule Regular Cleanings and Checkups
If you want to help your teen maintain a healthy mouth, preventative dental care is crucial. Make sure to schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups every six months to keep your child’s mouth as healthy as possible.
Being informed and knowing how to help your teen’s mouth and smile remain healthy is half the battle. The tips here can help you get them through these challenging years.