If you’re the parent of a teenager, you already know all too well that it can be a challenge to get your child to follow your good advice. Often, the best way to convince your adolescent to do what’s best for him or her is to set a good example yourself. That holds true for habits that maintain good oral health. If your child sees you following a daily oral hygiene routine at home, they’re much more likely to do that themselves.
Popular culture actually helps parents when it comes to helping their teens to maintain good oral health. Since most teens are concerned about their personal appearance, the beautiful smiles flashed by teen idols and other celebrities provide ample encouragement for teens to pay attention to their oral health.
But simply motivating your teen to take care of his or her teeth and being a good role model isn’t enough to ensure their good oral health. Here are a few tips for how to help your teenager maintain healthy teeth and gums.
- Remind them to keep up with their oral hygiene routine. Tell them how important it is to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, and that they should keep up with this routine no matter how busy they are with school or other activities. Make sure your teen uses a fluoride toothpaste for added protection against tooth decay.
- Educate them about how important diet is to their oral health. Fortunately, the same diet choices that are good for teeth and gums are also good for overall health. Remind your kids how important it is to enjoy a diet full of fresh produce, lean protein, and healthy dairy products like yogurt, cheese and milk. Encourage them to cut back on sugar and soda, and try to limit the amount of fast foods they eat.
- Take them to the dentist. Make sure they visit the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and oral exams. Cleanings are an absolutely essential part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. And oral exams by your dentist can help detect any possible problems in their early stages. As is the case with almost any dental or health issue, the sooner the issue is identified, the easier (and less expensive) it is to treat and resolve.
- Protect their teeth with mouth guards. This is especially important if your teen is involved in sports, but mouth guards are useful for anyone who leads a physically active lifestyle. There are different guards available. Some are one-size-fits-all, while others can be custom-made for your teen.
The teen years are enough of a challenge without dental issues. So make it a great New Year for you and your family by helping your teen maintain healthy teeth and gums all year long.