A teen’s life is always changing which is why parents should also be just as involved in their teen’s oral care just as they were through their early childhood. While we want to maintain good oral hygiene practices, sometimes eating right and maintaining brushing and flossing habits, are not on a teen’s list of priorities.
Here is a list to help you help your teen:
-Did you know the average teen eats nine times a day? Choose wisely! Even though your schedule is hectic and you eat on the run, you can select fresh fruits and vegetables instead of junk foods. Cheese, air-popped popcorn and yogurt are healthy alternatives to high-fat or high-sugar snacks. For the sake of your dental health and your waistline, do not let snacks take the place of nutritionally balanced meals.
-When you do not have time to brush after a snack or a meal, clear the food from your teeth with a swish and rinse of water. Or try sugarless gum with xylitol. Although it is not in the same league as brushing in terms of effectiveness, it can help prevent tooth decay.
-Brush twice a day – after breakfast and before bed – with fluoride toothpaste. Floss once a day to prevent gum disease and tooth decay on the sides of the teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach.
-Do not smoke or chew tobacco. (According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco use among high schoolers is 20% and 13% of teen boys use smokeless tobacco.) Besides lung and heart problems, tobacco can cause oral cancer. If you are using tobacco and notice any changes in your mouth, contact your pediatric dentist immediately.
-Wear a mouth guard during any sport or activity with a risk of falls, collisions or contact with hard surfaces or equipment. This includes sports such as football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, wrestling and gymnastics, as well as leisure activities such as skateboarding, skating and bicycling.
-Buckle up in the car. A seat belt and shoulder harness can keep your face from striking the steering wheel, the dashboard or windshield during even minor accidents. And please, do not forget your helmet when you head out on your bicycle, motorcycle, skateboard or inline skates.
-Skip the mouth jewelry. Piercing your tongue, cheek or lip can pose greater risks than piercing such other places as your ear or eyebrow. During or right after the piercing, you face the chance of severe bleeding if the needle hits a blood vessel, infection from the bacteria in your mouth, and difficulty in breathing if your tongue swells. Down the road, you face the risk of recurrent infection, injury to the sensitive tissues in your mouth, chips or cracks in your teeth from contact with the jewelry, and choking if the hoop, stud or barbell comes loose. Finally, although some people get used to mouth jewelry, others find it difficult to speak and chew.
-Visit your pediatric dentist twice a year. Teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants are still important for you to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.
-An accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date medical history is necessary for correct diagnosis and effective treatment planning. If there are details about your dental or health history that your parents cannot provide, it is essential that you share that information with your pediatric dentist. This can be done in way that maintains your right to confidence.
*Source – List was used in its entirety from Fast Facts, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry 2014