As kids move into their pre-teen and teenage years, oral health and hygiene can sometimes fall by the wayside. Extracurricular activities, like sports and social outings, and an increase in homework and school obligations can cause some teenagers to forget to take proper care of their teeth. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help your child prioritize brushing and flossing on a daily basis.
Important of Good Oral Hygiene for Teenagers
Teenagers are just as at risk for developing tooth decay and cavities as younger children. Though, it isn’t necessarily because they do not know how to brush their teeth. Oftentimes, teenagers can forget to brush their teeth due to an increase in their activity levels, and they may be more prone to grabbing unhealthy, high-sugar snacks and drinks instead of healthy food, like crunchy fruits and vegetables, due to convenience. As your teenager becomes more independent, it’s important to reemphasize the importance of daily brushing and flossing in order to avoid cavities and gum disease.
1. Good Oral Hygiene Helps Improve Personal Appearance and Increases Self-Esteem
Most teens are concerned with how they look, the appearance of their bodies and their faces. Good oral hygiene helps prevent staining and discoloration on the teeth as well as cavities and dental decay which could make them feel self-conscious and negatively affect their self-esteem. To help encourage good brushing habits, keep the toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss in an easy to view and easy to reach places. That way, every time your teenager walks into the bathroom, he or she will be reminded to brush when they see the items.
2. Lead by Example
If your teenager doesn’t take brushing and flossing seriously, lead by example instead of providing verbal warnings. For a teenager not experiencing stains, cavities or tooth pain, the warnings may seem irrelevant. Make a point to brush your own teeth twice a day and floss once a day, and ensure your teenager or preteen knows you are brushing and flossing your teeth. You can do this by creating a bedtime routine or by nonchalantly walking past your teenager’s room while brushing your teeth.
3. Consider Placing Oral Hygiene Products at More Than One Sink
If you have multiple bathrooms in your home, consider placing toothbrushes and toothpaste at all the bathroom sinks, even if the bathroom is considered to be a guest bath. You may also want to keep oral hygiene supplies by the kitchen sink. Teenagers are often so busy and involved in their own personal, work and school lives that they forget to brush their teeth. By placing oral hygiene products at more than one sink, you are helping make brushing and flossing as convenient as possible.
4. Consider Travel-Sized Oral Hygiene Products
As part of your back-to-school supplies, consider tossing travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste and flossers into your teenager’s book bag. This can be especially helpful if your teen wears braces or participates in after-school sports or additional school activities because it allows your teenager to brush and floss after lunch and after school.
5. Remember to Stock Lots of Healthy Snacks
Instead of buying chips, granola bars and other sticky or sweet foods and drinks, consider stocking up on healthy snacks that can be grabbed and eaten quickly before and after school. Great snacking options that are also good for your teen’s teeth include apples, pears, carrots and celery. These foods don’t stick to the teeth and can actually help scrape away plaque, especially celery and apples.
6. Remember Professional Dental Checkups
Remember to schedule twice-yearly professional dental cleanings and oral health checkups with our pediatric dentist at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida in Maitland or St. Cloud. Good times to schedule are right before the school year starts and during the holidays or spring break. This helps ensure that your teenager’s teeth are in good health and professionally cleaned regularly. It also allows your teen to ask questions and get tips and tricks for maintaining oral hygiene while leading an active lifestyle.
To schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist in St. Cloud, call us at 407-593-8900. To schedule an appointment at our dentist’s office in Maitland, call us at 407-628-2286.