5 Tips for Parents of Teenagers in 2020
Teenagers do not get excited about dental care. Even adults don’t get excited about dental care. There are no explosions, no catchy tunes, and the rewards can seem fleeting since everyone will need to brush their teeth again in the morning.
However, proper oral health and wellness is essential for living a long, healthy life with a natural smile. For parents of teenagers in 2020, it can seem difficult to instill good oral hygiene in your children. There are simply too many other factors to compete with, including social media, video games, sports, and hanging with friends.
Don’t be disheartened.
Follow these 5 tips to help your teenager maintain a healthy smile.
A serious concern in the United States and other countries around the world is poor nutrition and an unhealthy diet. In the United States, 40% of the population is now obese and another 40% are overweight. Sugary, palatable foods are easy to access and consume, and many don’t realize that simple staples in their diet are actually incredibly unhealthy for their teeth.
To help you teenager maintain a healthy smile, sit down with them and discuss proper nutrition. People should drink more plain water than any other beverage and should avoid acidic drinks like soda, fruit juice, and energy drinks. Coffee and tea can also be bad for the teeth because they discolor the dental enamel.
Sugar should also be avoided. Sugar is highly corrosive and wears down dental enamel rapidly, resulting in an increased rate of tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities. Encourage your teenager to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid items like candy bars, donuts, yogurt, breakfast cereal, ice cream, and even bread.
To better instill this advice, consider serving more healthy foods at home and restricting access to unhealthy options.
Be Aware of Hazardous Videos
Dentists and orthodontists have lately been horrified by the amount of DIY braces targeted towards children and teenagers. These videos circulate social media and YouTube and consist of individuals making their own braces using rubber bands, paperclips, and chicken wire.
Professionals aren’t concerned because they are losing money. These DIY braces are incredibly dangerous because the methods employed result in serious oral infections, broken teeth, damaged enamel, and even permanent tooth loss.
Instill Healthy Habits at Home
The best thing you can do is lead by example. Teenagers don’t like to brush and floss their teeth, but you should encourage them to do so every morning and at night. Make sure they see you engaging in these behaviors, and remind them of the importance of keeping a clean smile.
Sometimes the best thing you can do if your teenager doesn’t want to take care of their smile is to remind them of the consequences if they don’t. Individuals who don’t clean their teeth at least twice a day are more at risk of:
- Tooth decay
- Dental cavities
- Permanent tooth loss
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Canker sores
- Oral infections
Some of the long term risks also include a need to have serious restorative treatment like a root canal or even oral surgery to repair the damage caused by childhood.
To encourage healthy habits, remember to adjust your own lifestyle to be healthier. Drink water at home. Use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash. Always have dental floss with you. Eat more vegetables and less sugar. These will help your teenager adapt to a lifestyle which is better for their smile.
Invest in Dental and Orthodontic Care
As parents, you want what is best for your children, even when they are teenagers. This means you need to take steps to help them become healthier.
Instead of skipping dentist appointments, remember to schedule regular cleanings and exams twice a year. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends biannual appointments because a dentist can reach untouched areas of plaque and decay that a toothbrush cannot.
Regular appointments further help encourage your teenager to view a visit to the dentist as a necessity, and it gives them a chance to be held accountable for their oral health and wellness.
At the same time, you should consider taking your teenager to an orthodontist if your dentist mentions they have a misalignment in their smile. Orthodontists receive extra training and are skilled in helping move the teeth and jaws so they are realigned.
Why Is Orthodontic Treatment Essential?
Many of the problems people experience as adults are caused by misalignments and a lack of proper treatment as children. The skull is a delicate structure. When the jaws are not aligned, excess pressure can be placed on areas of the mouth or the temporomandibular joints, resulting in chronic pain, broken teeth, trouble eating, permanent headaches, and even tooth loss.
Individuals with misaligned teeth are also more prone to issues like tooth decay, gum disease, missing dental enamel, halitosis, and trouble eating, chewing, and speaking.
To help your teenager avoid chronic problems later in life, bring them to an orthodontic office for an assessment and proper care. While wearing braces can be uncomfortable or embarrassing, they are better than wearing dentures at 40.
Get a Mouth Guard
Many teenagers are involved in sports and physical activities. One of the best ways you can help your child keep their smile is by investing in the proper protection. For any athletic teenagers, it is essential to have a mouth guard.
A mouth guard is a flexible dental appliance worn during sports like football and basketball. If your child falls or is struck, the guard stops the teeth from hitting each other and shields the enamel so it doesn’t break.
These 5 tips for parents can help you keep your teenager’s smile healthy and strong as they make the transition to adulthood. Of the utmost importance is maintaining a good oral health regimen and making regular visits to a dentist and orthodontist. These professionals can clean the teeth, realign a smile, explain how braces work, and ensure you and your teenager have a good 2020.
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