During the transition to adulthood, teens often have to deal with increased obligations which can include more schoolwork, friends, sports, college applications, in addition to routine items like proper oral hygiene. As a result, these obligations can seem less important.
When in a rush, many people don’t take the time to brush their teeth for a full two minutes, oftentimes choosing to skip flossing altogether. This decision can put their oral health at risk. Other bad habits that can damage their teeth and smile include:
- Eating lots of sugary foods and drinks
- Chewing on ice, using their teeth as a tool to open bottles, etc.
- Not wearing a mouthguard when playing
- Mouth piercings and smoking
- Eating disorders – bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating
Some of these problems can be hard for parents to identify, though some have telltale signs like dry mouth, bad breath, mouth trauma, sensitive teeth, teeth erosion, enlarged salivary glands, and so on.
Ideally, parents should cultivate good oral habits as early as possible to help their kids enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile. This includes visiting a dental professional every six months for professional cleaning and a dental exam for early intervention of any potential problems, as well as receiving education on good oral habits.
In addition, parents may consider the following tips to help their teens maintain a healthy smile:
- Encouraging the teen to brush twice a day and floss daily to prevent bad breath, stains, decay, and other problems
- Leading by example – watching your nutrition, avoiding sugary items and junk foods, brushing and flossing regularly, visiting the dentist regularly
- Keeping a good supply of dental care items, such as multiple soft toothbrushes (so they can be replaced every three months), flavored floss, good-tasting toothpaste, etc.
- Talking about the dangers of tobacco use, oral piercings, and other challenges posed by social pressures
- Discussing smile improvement options, like teeth whitening and orthodontic care to help improve self-confidence
- Discussing the importance of protecting their teeth by wearing mouth guards while playing
If it has been years since your teen’s last dental checkup, or if you have a dental emergency, please visit Precision Dental in Garden Grove. We will be happy to examine your teen’s oral health and recommend the best preventive practices and treatment options for him or her. Our goal is to help your teen achieve and maintain the best oral health possible, so they can keep showing off that dazzling smile.