Once your child has advanced into their teens, you may think your job of overseeing their dental care is over; however, once children are old enough to make some decisions on their own, this may be a bigger source of concern. What they are eating and drinking can have a huge impact on their oral health so overseeing their teeth cleaning habits and maintaining trips to the dentist are probably more crucial than ever.
Provide the Proper Tools for Maintaining Oral Health
If you instilled good oral health habits during their growing years, teens are more likely to continue these habits. But if a trip to the dentist indicates they might not be brushing and flossing as needed, it’s time to join forces and work together to find ways to make improvements for their oral health.
An electric toothbrush might appeal to your teen. After all, this brush basically does all the work. They just need to add some toothpaste and brush (maybe to their favorite music which you will happily provide). Timers on electric toothbrushes will encourage your teen to brush for two minutes as recommended.
Toothpaste is important – find a fluoridated paste or gel that your teen likes. Oral rinses may be helpful here as well. Again, let your teens have some input.
Flossing is very important, but can be challenging to monitor. You can stress the importance of flossing every day, but this may sound more like nagging than helpful instruction. So, your dentist can be very helpful by explaining what can occur (like bad breath, gum disease, and tooth loss) if your teen fails to floss.
While your teen may eat out more often, what you provide for snacking and meals at home are more important than ever. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are a much better choice than chips and crackers. Soda should be replaced with water. Provide sugar free water options by infusing water with fresh fruit. Sparkling water may be a bit more costly, but may appeal to your teen more, and is a better choice than soda or sugary flavored beverages.
Finally, make sure your teen visits the office of Dr. Barry Buchanan twice yearly for teeth cleaning and dental exam.