Being a teenager is hard. Between acne breakouts, a changing voice, and random growth spurts, your teen may feel frustrated with all of the changes going on in his or her body. So what’s one area your teen shouldn’t need to worry about? Their teeth!
By encouraging healthy oral habits in your teenager, you will help them keep their smiles shining brightly all the way into adulthood.
Our teeth can easily shift and move out of alignment, especially when we’re growing. This is why many teenagers find themselves in need of braces. Braces repair crooked, overlapping, and overcrowded teeth. It can feel like a burden, but once your child’s braces come off, he or she will be thankful for their straight smile.
When a third set of molars, known as wisdom teeth, come in, your teenager’s mouth might not have any room left. When these molars become impacted, they cause severe pain and must be surgically removed. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but many teenagers and young adults need to have their wisdom teeth removed.
If your teenager is considering tongue, cheek, uvula, or lip piercings, make sure they’re keeping up with proper hygiene. Poorly kept oral piercings lead to speech problems, fractured teeth, gingival recession, or even an unwanted jewelry swallow. Before letting your teen get a piercing, speak with your dentist. He or she can educate both you and your teenager on the dangers of oral piercings, provide useful hygiene tips, and help your teen avoid serious oral complications.
Halitosis, or chronically bad breath, occurs when bacteria builds up on your tongue. Teens might be dealing with some stinky breath because they need to amp up their oral hygiene. Brushing their teeth and tongue thoroughly plus flossing every day should do the trick and get your teen’s breath back to smelling minty fresh.
If your teen is an athlete, then you know how often injuries can happen. The American Dental Association recommends anyone playing contact sports (football, hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer) to protect their pearly whites by wearing a mouth guard. This will cover the upper teeth and lower the risk of broken or chipped teeth in the event of a collision.
Hopefully, your teenager isn’t using tobacco or smoking on the regular. Tobacco carries harmful toxins that are terrible for your teeth. It causes cancer, bad breath, and tooth discoloration. Beating a smoking habit is easiest when you’re young, so keep reminding your teenager how harmful smoking is to prevent them from ever starting this harmful habit.
The best way to help your teenager keep their pearly whites looking pearly white is to enforce good oral hygiene habits. This includes:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing daily
- Keeping the fridge stocked with healthy food
- Providing oral-health supplies like new toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss
- Talking to your teens about oral health hazards
- Keeping up with regular dental visits
- Setting a good example for oral hygiene