Teenage is often the age of snacks, sweets, and sugary drinks. And sometimes irregular oral hygiene. Cigarettes, energy drinks, and even body piercing are topics to discuss with teenagers, even if it is often difficult to make them listen to reason.
During teen years, video games, sports, and leisure are the main concerns of young people. So, when we talk about oral health with them, we might say they will not welcome us with open arms!
However, we must do our best to help them keep their sweet smile for a lifetime.
Cavities can develop at any age, and permanent neglect of oral hygiene can promote the appearance of long-term dental diseases.
With neglect, oral problems can appear in teens. Today we want to remind young people about the daily routine for good oral hygiene.
According to a study, 80% of teenagers have tooth decay or received treatment for that.
What advice should we offer our teenagers for good oral health?
First of all, it is necessary to have a daily oral hygiene routine.
It is essential to brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
Dental plaque accumulates on the teeth and causes cavities. To prevent it, we should extend the brushing time to 3 minutes. If the brush doesn’t remove plaque every day, it hardens until it forms tartar, a yellowish deposit that is hard and difficult to remove.
In the evening, it is paramount to use dental floss for interdental spaces.
In addition, a few simple tips can improve their oral health.
- Stock the cupboards and fridge with healthy foods. Teeth are a reflection of our diet. That is why we must prioritize healthy foods and limit the consumption of sugary products as much as possible.
- Carbohydrates and starches in many foods and drinks promote the formation of dental plaque and, therefore, the development of cavities. So prioritize the five food classes and, between meals, plan for snacks such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, or fruit.
- Limit the consumption of snacks and sugary drinks: acids attack teeth and promote cavities and enamel erosion.
Annual Consultation with the Dentist
We repeat it often, but it is a big deal: seeing a dentist for a preventive check-up is a must for everyone’s oral health. Teeth cleaning is essential twice a year because brushing and flossing are not always enough. Even if everything is fine, the teenager should see a dentist once a year at least.
Choose a dentist who knows how to convey important oral hygiene messages. Accompany your teenager, if necessary, to carry out an annual check-up and descaling.
Zoom in when There Are Braces
Kids can put on braces as soon as the permanent teeth have grown, usually starting from the age of 12. Braces play a role in the aesthetics and the prevention of dental problems, namely cavities and loosening. Misaligned teeth can sometimes be a source of speech and breathing problems.
If your teen has braces, teeth brushing should be even more diligent because dental plaque grows faster under braces:
- Remember to equip your teen with a special toothbrush for dental appliances and change it every three months;
- Teach him to use dental floss to clean the spaces between his teeth;
- Use fluoride toothpaste.
For more confidence, you can opt for teen Invisalign. This treatment is invisible and requires fewer dental visits.
Lead by Example
Even in their teenage years, your children continue to follow your example. It’s hard to educate them about good oral hygiene if you don’t follow your advice. By adopting good habits, your arguments will have more impact. It’s not a magic bullet, but it helps.
Educate Them About the Risks
Teens are curious and are the first to want to try something new, but they don’t always think about the consequences. Since it is your role to educate them, take the time to educate them about the risks of oral piercing and smoking, two great enemies of oral hygiene.
Oral piercing can lead to multiple complications such as infections, bleeding, and nerve damage. Piercings can also cause chips or damages to the teeth and gums, depending on their location.
When it comes to smoking, everyone knows it is harmful to health and teeth are not immune to it. Tobacco stains teeth and gums and contributes to bad breath.
Over time, smoking increases the risk of oral cancer and gum disease. Be sure to remind your teen, especially if they have friends who use tobacco.
Make Sure Everything Is Close at Hand
Have a sufficient supply of oral hygiene supplies in your pharmacy and always leave them in one place. That way, your teen won’t have to search long to find what they need.
That will prevent him from dropping toothbrushing overnight for not finding the necessary equipment. If your teenager is going on a trip or is just going to a friend’s house, remind them to bring essentials to brush their teeth.
In a nutshell, being a teenager is sweet and sour at the same time. Let the teens learn from their mistakes as long as those mistakes are fixable or will not have a drastic outcome. But when it comes to oral hygiene, consequences can extend to a lifetime. They might lose their smile! Do what you have to do, and always be one of the reasons your children smile from their hearts.
Dr. Nabil Mockbil is an Orthodontist who received his DDS in 2001 from Umea University in Sweden, regarded as having the best dentist programme in Sweden for undergraduates. He’s now the founder of Swedish Dental Clinic in Dubai.