The teenage years are a time of rapid change and development, and this includes shifts in oral health needs. As kids transition into adolescence, their dental care requirements evolve as well. That evolution of needs makes it crucial for parents and guardians to understand the changes that are happening so they can help guide their teenagers toward healthier oral health practices. By understanding the dental transitions that occur during the teen years, and with a few practical tips, caretakers can feel more confident that they’re doing what they can to promote a healthy future for their teen.
Shifting Dental Hygiene Habits
As kids become teenagers, their schedules and responsibilities become more demanding. Between school, extracurricular activities, and social engagements, it can be common for dental hygiene to take a backseat. For that reason, reinforcing good dental habits is essential. Encourage your teen to:
- Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily to prevent cavities and gum disease
- Consider using mouthwash for added protection against bacteria
Addressing Orthodontic Concerns
Many teenagers undergo orthodontic treatment, like braces or aligners, to achieve a straighter smile. It's important to continue regular dental checkups during this time to ensure the orthodontic treatment is progressing as planned. Emphasize the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene while wearing braces, as food particles can easily become trapped, leading to decay and gum problems.
Teenagers often have a newfound independence when it comes to food choices. While they may be tempted by sugary snacks and beverages, it's important to educate them about the impact of their diet on oral health. Encourage them to opt for teeth-friendly foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Additionally, remind them to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and rinse away food particles and bacteria.
Protecting Teeth During Sports and Activities
Active teenagers often engage in sports and physical activities. If your teen participates in contact sports, make sure they wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth from potential impacts and injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard offers the best protection and can help prevent broken teeth, jaw injuries, and even concussions.
Addressing Wisdom Teeth
During the late teenage years or early twenties, wisdom teeth (third molars) typically start to emerge. These teeth often lead to overcrowding and alignment issues. Regular dental checkups allow the dentist to monitor the development of wisdom teeth and recommend appropriate action if removal is necessary.
Scheduling a Consultation
As children transform into adolescents, their oral health needs undergo significant changes. By actively engaging with your teen about dental hygiene, nutrition, and preventive measures, you can guide them towards maintaining healthy smiles throughout their teenage years and beyond. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office via our contact form or by calling 403-407-5730.
*all procedures performed at our practice by a general dentist