As the parent of a preteen or teenager, you’re in for some fun, interesting, frustrating, and busy years!
While we can’t help you keep your child from acting like a teenager, here are a few challenges they may face regarding their oral health, and some tips to help…
It’s not uncommon for teenagers to experience tooth decay, which is primarily due to poor food choices and inadequate oral hygiene. Our recommendations are to limit the amount of sugary drinks and foods that your child eats (we know this isn’t easy, but explain to them why it’s so important) and continue to brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once daily.
Mouthguards (for teeth grinding and sports)
If your child plays a sport, they should wear a custom-fit sports mouthguard. These types of mouthguards are much better than traditional boil-and-bite mouthguards and provide a higher degree of protection.
If your child struggles with grinding their teeth (which is common with teenagers), a teeth grinding mouthguard (also called a nightguard) may need to be used. At your appointment, we’ll be able to tell you if your child grinds his/her teeth and what we recommend regarding treatment or prevention.
Say no to tobacco
Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco…it’s all bad. You should explain to your teenager that 90% of patients with oral cancer used tobacco at some point in their lives. Let your child know that smoking or chewing isn’t “cool” and certainly isn’t worth the risk.
Treatment for bad breath (halitosis)
If your teenager has chronic bad breath, then it could be an issue of inadequate oral hygiene. In addition to brushing twice a day and flossing daily, you may want to invest in a tongue scraper, which can help remove additional bacteria from the mouth.
If that doesn’t help, see your primary care physician as there could be another underlying problem related to allergies or a sinus infection.
Keeping their smile bright and white
To keep their teeth bright and white, your child should have a solid oral hygiene routine in place and limit their consumption of dark beverages and sugary foods. If they do all of these things and visit a pediatric dentist every six months, yellow or dingy teeth shouldn’t be a problem at this point in their life.