Teenagers and Oral Health: Here’s How You Can Help as a Parent

Dealing with teenage children is a huge challenge in itself. It becomes even more difficult when you, as a parent, need to ensure that your teenager has a healthy smile. This is because teenagers tend to have a lifestyle which can increase their risk of oral health issues tremendously. Listed below are a few tips which will help you understand how you can guide your teenager towards problem-free dental health for years to come.

1. Ensure That They Eat Right
Nutrition is one of the most important factors affecting your teen’s oral health. Make sure that his or her eating habits are healthy. Teach them about the ill effects of chewy, sticky and sugar-rich foods and aerated or caffeinated drinks on their oral and overall health. Make healthy eating a part of your family’s lifestyle.

2. Reinforce the Importance of Healthy Habits
Make sure you, along with your orthodontist, explain to your teen the importance of maintaining an oral hygiene routine. Brushing twice at least twice a day, flossing once daily and using mouth guards during sports are some of the healthy habits which will promote good oral health.

3. Smoking Is a Big No No
Teenagers can often pick up the habit of smoking because they think it is a popular trend which will make them look ‘cool.’ This thought process makes them overlook the dangerous effects of smoking on their oral and overall health. Smoking causes stained teeth, bad breath, canker sores, altered taste buds, bone and tooth loss due to periodontal diseases and increases the risk of acquiring oral cancer and lung cancer. Studies have shown that smoking just a half pack of cigarettes a day can increase the risk of developing periodontal diseases three-fold. Hence, discourage smoking and talk to your teen about the hazardous effects of this habit.

4. Consider Braces
If you notice that your teen has crooked teeth, overbites or underbites, you might want to consider braces for them. Misaligned or crooked teeth result in poor chewing and increase the risk of gum diseases and cavities. Braces will not only help straighten the misaligned teeth but will also reduce the risk of oral health issues associated with misaligned teeth. Proper treatment with teen braces at an early stage will save your teen from the trouble of extensive oral surgeries in the later years of his or her life. Your teen can choose from the many options of teen braces and aligners available today. Traditional metal braces, ceramic or tooth-colored braces, lingual or invisible braces, removable Invisalign aligners – the options are many. Your dentist will be able to help your teen pick the perfect set of braces depending on the requirement.

5. Discuss the Effects of Mouth Jewelry
If your teen is interested in oral jewelry, make them talk to a dentist first so that they can understand the risks involved. Cheek rings or tongue and lip piercings can often lead to swelling, infections and eventually a blocked airway. In extreme cases, an infected oral piercing may cause endocarditis or hepatitis. Besides, there is also the risk of long-term dental damage which can be caused by repeatedly clicking the jewelry against the teeth or biting down too hard on a piercing. If your teen already has a mouth piercing, take him or her for regular dental examinations to ensure that there are no related dental problems.

6. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups for Them
Teenagers face a unique set of dental health risks. You can make this less challenging for them by setting a good example of going for regular dental checkups yourself. Talk to them about the importance of regular dental checkups. Schedule your appointments close to theirs so you can be sure that they meet their appointments. You can also collaborate with your dentist on this so that your teen has the best shot at good oral health.

You play a key role in maintaining your child’s oral health. With proper guidance, proper nutrition, good oral hygiene, a healthy lifestyle and regular checkups your teen is sure to enjoy excellent dental health.

8/22/2018 7:00:00 AM
Sharon Williams
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Sharon William's day job is to handle digital marketing for Koch Orthodontics in Loganville, GA. With a flair for creating compelling content that clears the clutter and connects with the audience in an instant, she writes about dental topics to educate and help her readers. She truly believes that a genuine smile can wi...
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