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Teenagers and Healthy Teeth: What Parents Need to Know

Every parent knows that good dental habits are built at home, and at a very young age. In fact, when they are well into primary school at the age of eight to ten, your youngsters can already use their toothbrush independently, and by that time, they should know how long it takes to brush thoroughly, how much toothpaste to use, and how often they need to brush to keep their gums and teeth in excellent shape.
However, as soon as adolescence kicks in and your kids gain more independence, you need to continue building upon this existing foundation of health by teaching them other healthy habits and enforcing your own. Every little step forward is important, and your teenagers will be able to feel more confident and learn to appreciate their health with a pearly-white smile and a fresh breath!

Keep your kitchen cabinets in check

Independence is a great part of growing up so your kids will want to make more of their eating decisions on their own. Add to that the fact that you cannot keep their diets under constant control, as they’ll eat out with their friends, or at their friend’s birthday parties. That means that you can only limit their access to sugary sips and bites to an extent, and it’s best done by instilling healthy dietary habits early on and enforcing them during adolescence.
It’s not just cavities that will pose a problem to their lovely teeth, but they’ll also damage their enamel from too much soda, and chances are that if they consume too much sugar, they are also making other unhealthy eating choices. Keep those sweets out of your kitchen, but also talk to your teens and be a role-model who eats well to show what it means to prevent dental issues.

Make sure you have your dental essentials

You know how teenagers can become self-conscious and exceptionally self-critical during this sensitive time of their life. That is an added reason for you to provide them with those essentials such as toothpaste, encourage them to replace their brushes on a regular basis, and use dental floss.
Talk to your family dentist in case your teen needs braces or other corrective measures to adjust their teeth alignment, while they can also give your teens specific tips to keep their smile bright and clean. Some recommend the use of topical fluoride, while there are other useful solutions for your teens to implement.

Encourage safe workouts

If your growing kids take up a sport, especially something with a higher risk of injuries such as hockey, boxing, or wrestling, using protective equipment such as a wrestling mouth guard is essential to keep their teeth safe. Your best bet is to find a custom-made option that will ideally suit your teen for their specific training regime and their unique bite.
Up to 39% of dental injuries come precisely from sports activities, so if your teen needs further convincing, share this fact with them and encourage them to talk to their coach. After all, it should be every school’s and every sports club’s policy for their members to wear protective gear, so make sure they enforce it.

Schedule regular checkups

Even though you want and should give enough space to your teens, it’s important to also stay involved to a certain extent and gently remind them of their responsibilities from time to time. While you don’t need to turn into a helicopter parent and send them to bed every night with a set of dental hygiene questions, you can ask them if they brushed their teeth every once in a while, and pay attention if their breath is changed or if they eat differently.
However, your dentist is another great authority figure who can help your teens detect flaws in their habits and replace them with healthy ones. So, schedule those regular checkups, and talk to your dentist to see if they have any additional advice as to your teen’s dental care.

Educate your teens

In addition to diet and sports, we all know how curious teenagers are, and thus more prone to experimenting with unhealthy behavior such as smoking or drinking. Both of these habits can be extremely detrimental to their dental and overall health, so the sooner you start educating them on building healthy habits and the consequences of bad choices, the greater the chances are for them to resist the temptation.
That way, you’ll help your kids express themselves in healthy, constructive ways, and make smarter decisions that will protect their general health, give them a beautiful smile, and more confidence to tackle their adolescence.